Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

454

John Warren: Finally Beginning

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
John Warren is a veteran of the British jazz scene having turned in work with baritone saxophonist John Surman over the decades. He's here exclusively as a composer and arranger and responsible for the entire program of music, apart from a reading of Thelonious Monk's "Ruby My Dear" which falls right in with the overall ethos, even as it retains its individuality.

Warren is fortunate indeed in having been able to assemble a crack band to give life to his music. In that regard at least this nine, and sometimes ten-piece band, wants for nothing despite the many facets of Warren's music.

"Winter Solstice" makes this point in no uncertain terms and does so despite the piece's essential elegance. It's melancholy too, and that aspect is teased out via Gwilym Simcock's piano—he manages to catch the mood without evoking the spirit of Bill Evans which is a considerable trick—and Martin Shaw on flugelhorn. Christian Brewer's alto sax brings some heat in the midst of this winter, but the balance struck is still a fine one.

The cover of Thelonious Monk's "Ruby My Dear" is graced again by Brewer, though this time he's in more reflective mode. Warren's arrangement is winningly deft in the way he hews closely to the composer's spirit even while his own is all over the piece. It exemplifies also how skilled he is at judging the weight of the ensemble, an aspect of his work which in a sense echoes Gerry Mulligan's work, though again of course the comparison serves only to contextualise Warren's work.

The very sparseness of "Willow White" does the same, the melody 'sung' in apt fashion by trombonist Mark Nightingale. His solo is an urbane affair that retains just enough of the trenchant to keep it from mere elegance, whilst drummer James Maddren comes into his own in accompaniment.

The absence of soloists on the closing "Kronk" has the effect of highlighting Warren's writing and in this instance, as in others, it turns out to be a model of economy. The music has room to manoeuvre and the impressionistic turns of bass, drums and vibes in particular make for some of the most distinctive music in a program that exudes both class and character in equal measure.


Track Listing: Lopsided; Winter Solstice; Convergent; Ruby My Dear; Unless; Some Sketchy Spanish; Willow White; Kronk.

Personnel: Gerard Presencer: trumpet, flugelhorn; Martin Shaw: trumpet, flugelhorn (2, 8); Mark Nightingale: trombone; Christian Brewer: alto sax; Stan Sulzmann: tenor sax; Julian Siegel: tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Gwilym Simcock: piano; Jim Hart: vibes; Phil Donkin: bass; James Maddren: drums.

Title: Finally Beginning | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Fuzzy Moon Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Read more articles
The Traveller's Tale

The Traveller's Tale

Fledg'ling Records
2017

buy
Following On

Following On

Fuzzy Moon Records
2010

buy
Finally Beginning

Finally Beginning

Fuzzy Moon Records
2008

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb21Thu
John Warren Nonet
Vortex Jazz Club
London, UK

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Bulería Brooklyniana Album Reviews
Bulería Brooklyniana
By Dan Bilawsky
January 23, 2019
Read At The Hill Of James Magee Album Reviews
At The Hill Of James Magee
By Mark Corroto
January 23, 2019
Read Stomping Off From Greenwood Album Reviews
Stomping Off From Greenwood
By Mike Jurkovic
January 23, 2019
Read Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018 Album Reviews
Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018
By Roger Weisman
January 23, 2019
Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019