Citizen is London-based saxophonist Duncan Eagle's first album under his own name and follows his signing to the burgeoning U.S. label Ropeadope. His other major vehicle is the band Partikel whose eponymously titled debut album was released in 2010 followed by three more critically acclaimed recordings for the Whirlwind label, Cohesion (2013), String Theory (2015) and Counteraction (2017). Eagles is highly respected on the U.K. jazz scene and has worked with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Gary Husband and Jason Rebello.
On the opening title track Eagles' tenor exposition and subsequent extemporisation is followed by a gripping, serpentine guitar solo from David Preston of Preston Glasgow Lowe fame. The multi-faceted "Riad" alternates between pastoral and high energy but with the common thread of Eagles' soaring soprano. On the languid "Conquistador" Eagles offers-up a master class in sensitive tenor saxophone. The centrepiece of the album is "Folk Song" which, in addition to its overarching sense of tranquillity, contains some small surprises such as the sporadic crackling of Dave Hamblett's drums and swathes of elegant piano from Matt Robinson.
"Taxco" reveals more scintillating guitar work from Preston and vibrant tenor from Eagles who has no reluctance in exploring the higher registers of the saxophone. "Cascade" opens with bass from fellow-Partikel member Max Luthert, before the piece opens-up to feature Eagles' lissom tenor and Matt Robinson's graceful piano. The finale is the gorgeously atmospheric "Midnight Mass," the tenor wreathed in sonorous bass, melting piano and transitory percussive fills, offering as it fades-out as plangent an ending as can be wished for.
Citizen; Riad; Conquistador; Shimmer; Folk Song; Taxco; Cascade; Midnight Mass.
Duncan Eagles: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; David Preston: guitar;
Matt Robinson: piano; Max Luthert: bass; Dave Hamblett: drums.