All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

7

Mark Lockheart: Ellington in Anticipation

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Ellington in Anticipation isn't Mark Lockheart's first album to employ an expanded lineup; the Polar Bear/Blue Touch Paper saxophonist collaborated with Germany's WDR Big Band on 2010's Days Like These (Fuzzy Moon) and first cut his teeth in Loose Tubes, the now-legendary large UK collective of then-up-and-comers that included pianist Django Bates, saxophonist Iain Ballamy and guitarist John Parricelli, amongst other notables. But Ellington in Anticipation—whose septet's complexion is defined by the incorporation of violin alongside a three-horn frontline—is Lockheart's first to pay tribute to another composer, through imaginative rearrangements of music by and/or associated with Duke Ellington, along with original material clearly inspired by the great pianist/composer.

In that respect, Ellington in Anticipation is not unlike trumpeter Dave Douglas' string of tributes including trumpeter Booker Little on In Our Lifetime (Arabesque, 1995) and saxophonist Wayne Shorter with Stargazer (Arabesque, 1996), but there the comparison ends. Lockheart's own voice, approach, and acumen as both a performer and composer have grown significantly since the Loose Tubes years on albums including Moving Air (Basho, 2005) and In Deep (Edition, 2006).

Lockheart's group clearly appreciates the fine balance between reverent respect and respectful irreverence in tackling near-iconic material like "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." Re-harmonized, to be sure, Lockheart's arrangement also turns the tune into ambling ¾-time, comfortably moving from near-chamber ambiance—its memorable melody passed¸ tag team-like, from the rich blend of Lockheart, reed multi-instrumentalist James Allsopp (here solely on clarinet) and saxophonist/flautist Finn Peters to violinist Emma Smith in pizzicato unison with Liam Noble's prepared piano—to a more open solo section that, in addition to featuring Lockheart, gives bassist/Polar Bear cohort Tom Herbert an early opportunity to shine. It does, indeed, swing, but in a different, more modernistic fashion.

Lockheart's "My Caravan" even more significantly re-imagines Juan Tizol's often-covered "Caravan," its familiar theme only emerging in the final minute of a tune slowly building from drummer/Polar Bear partner Sebastian Rochford's hand-played foundation, over which Noble and the horns improvise freely, gradually coalescing around Lockheart's complex contrapuntal writing for further impressive soloing, all bolstered by Noble's blocky accompaniment.

A brooding tone poem, "Come Sunday" starts as a trio with Lockheart, Herbert, and Rochford, whose dark cymbal washes and mallet-driven toms are more about texture than time. Time does, however, ultimately emerge, as Rochford's gentle rim shot drives a slowly building second section where saxophones, clarinet and flute orbit thematically around each other as Noble's simple figure and Herbert's deep arco provide yet another foundation.

Whether rendering Billy Strayhorn's signature "Take the A Train" more episodic and expansive, or honing in with needle-like precision on the softly driven yet visceral and gradually intensifying take on Ellington's "Creole Love Call," Ellington in Anticipation proves that there's still plenty of life in material now dating back as much as 80 years. Lockheart and his septet deliver a thoroughly contemporary tribute that focuses the spotlight on a composer whose historical importance is never questioned, but whose music is often considered dated by younger generations. With Ellington in Anticipation, the Duke has rarely sounded so young...or relevant.

Track Listing: It Don't Mean a Think (If It Ain't Got That Swing); My Caravan; Come Sunday; Jungle Lady; Take the A Train; Azure; Uptown; Creole Call Love; Beautiful Man; Mood Indigo; Indian Summer.

Personnel: Mark Lockheart: tenor saxophone; Finn Peters: alto saxophone and flute; James Allsopp: clarinets; Emma Smith: violin; Liam Noble: piano; Tom Herbert: bass; Sebastian Rochford: drums.

Title: Ellington in Anticipation | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Subtone Records (uk)

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ellington  in Anticipation

Ellington in...

Subtone Records (uk)
2013

buy
Days Like These

Days Like These

Fuzzy Moon Records
2010

buy
In Deep

In Deep

Edition Records
2009

buy
Moving Air

Moving Air

Basho Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Brother Raymond CD/LP/Track Review
Brother Raymond
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Frescalalto CD/LP/Track Review
Frescalalto
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Motion CD/LP/Track Review
Motion
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 22, 2018
Read El Duende CD/LP/Track Review
El Duende
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 22, 2018
Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "Cub(an)ism" CD/LP/Track Review Cub(an)ism
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "A New Shade Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A New Shade Of Blue
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "The Tronosonic Experience" CD/LP/Track Review The Tronosonic Experience
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "Today" CD/LP/Track Review Today
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 2, 2017
Read "Leap of Faith Orchestra - Possible Universes" CD/LP/Track Review Leap of Faith Orchestra - Possible Universes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017