171

Alex Maguire Sextet: Brewed In Belgium

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Alex Maguire Sextet: Brewed In Belgium Keyboard player Alex Maguire has worked with the present day incarnation of the British band Hatfield and the North and clearly he has more than sufficient chops to deal with a range of musical situations.

The fare offered here is often freer than the Hatfield way, however. And when the music goes inside, such as on the opening of "Psychic Warrior," the impression is of a program of music which tries to cover so many bases it compromises individual and collective identity.

As it is, Maguire's soloing is urbane and harmonically sophisticated enough, but his work doesn't really have a strong impact.

There is intrigue and genuine invention in the way the band comes in on "John's Fragment," and over the course of its nine minutes the music reveals beguiling, off-centre buoyancy. Robin Verheyen's tenor sax solo is knotted yet somehow fluent, at times almost static even while the rhythmic underpinning exhibits a sense of urgency.

By contrast, however, the free-play of "Theresa's Dress" lacks the inner coherence that makes such music so compelling. In striving for a variety of collective effects, the result is a band ill at ease with itself and seemingly the very open context in which it's working. Consequently, the music drifts rather aimlessly.

The lengthy "Saturn" is a worthwhile exercise in atmospherics, with a sly, insidious melody, but its sheer length has the effect of dissipating these qualities. Guitarist Michel Delville is a little buried in the mix for the duration of his lengthy solo, during which he constructs something with the precision of an architect—albeit one of tension-and-release as opposed to anything physical. Trumpeter Jean-Paul Estivienart is a model of restraint without evoking the spirit of Miles Davis, which in a setting like this, is an achievement in itself.

The late Elton Dean's "Seven For Lee" has been recorded before, notably by Soft Head, of which Dean was a member, on Rogue Element (Ogun, 1978). That interpretation had about it a poise that this one lacks. The piece can be something more than a vehicle for blowing, although here it's merely that.

And for all of Verheyen's eloquence on soprano sax, the impression remains it's a missed opportunity.


Track Listing: Psychic Warrior; John's Fragment; Saturn; Theresa's Dress; Pumpkin Soup; Seven for Lee.

Personnel: Alex Maguire: acoustic piano, synth; Michel Delville: synth guitar; Jean-Paul Estievenart: trumpet, flugelhorn; Robin Verheyen: soprano and tenor saxophone; Damien Polard: bass guitar; Laurent Delchambre: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Moonjune Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Behind the Vibration" CD/LP/Track Review Behind the Vibration
by Mark F. Turner
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "She Sleeps, She Sleeps" CD/LP/Track Review She Sleeps, She Sleeps
by John Eyles
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "Morning Glory" CD/LP/Track Review Morning Glory
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Follow The Stick" CD/LP/Track Review Follow The Stick
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 3, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!