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This production signifies yet another example of UK-based Babel Records' vast array of young or nascent talent spanning everything from ferocious, free-jazz experimentation to artists who bridge numerous jazz and unrelated genres into a cohesive entity. ACV is a group of stalwarts who respectively boast resumes of stints with exalted modern improvisers such as guitarist Fred Frith, saxophonist Evan Parker, vocalist Ruth Lambert, legendary jazz trumpeter Art Farmer and other notables.
Each piece tells a different story. They venture into the progressive rock format with jazzy riffs, temperate choruses and a laid- back gait, but also integrate free-jazz formulations with booming patterns and sinewy unison lines via an energized mode of operations. At times they delve into raw, hard-driving solo jaunts with bluesy overtones; therefore, it's a multidimensional offering. For instance on "She Said It Ugly," Paul Edis' highly reverberating piano solo casts imagery of an incessant abyss, although the quintet flips it back into the loose and upbeat, jazz-funk groove.
"Giant Mice" is firmed up by drummer Adrian Tilbrook's weighty backbeat and Graeme Wilson's deep and husky baritone sax lines, as the band injects a brisk swing vamp and alters the tempo, abetted by guitarist Mark Williams' gritty and rock-inflected crunch chords. Other pieces feature haunting balladry, yearning sentiment, and gently soaring crescendos, yet "What's for Breakfast" is underscored by quirky, odd- metered time changes and spirited interactions between the frontline.
The musicians' impressive chops and flexible paradigms come to the forefront throughout this irrefutably entertaining and diverse set. There's a little for everyone here, thanks to the ensemble's all- embracing scope and perceptively articulated arrangements.
Track Listing: Degree Absolute; Nutmeg State; She Said It Ugly; Second Season; Giant
Mice; Never Ever; What’s For Breakfast; Dust Red.
Personnel: Andy Champion: double bass; Graeme Wilson: saxophone; Mark Williams:
guitar; Paul Edis: keyboards; Adrian Tilbrook: drummer.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.