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Wren/Stabbins/Riley/Sanders: Four In The Afternoon

Mark Corroto By

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This 2001 session was a return to the improvising scene by bassist Tony Wren. For those who are tuned into the British scene, his return was celebrated. For those of us stateside, who only get bits and pieces of information and performances via recordings, please rejoice in this quartet date.

The significance of this session stems from the maturity and sophistication of the music making. Listeners not aware that this is pure improvisation, with no prior discussion of the sequences created, would pronounce much of this to be either noted or pre-planned. With assurances from label chief Martin Davidson as to the spontaneity, you can only marvel at this recording.

Music heard here starts out with quiet ideas only to build in intensity, before release. The energy passages remain rooted in jazz, as does the entire vocabulary. That makes the music accessible, especially on disc (as opposed to catching t live). While Wren seems to stay in the background throughout, his amiable bass guides throughout. Saxophonist Larry Stabbins is the point man here, working both the bottom end and the whistling top to great effect. Pianist Howard Riley is a patient collaborator as is drummer Mark Sanders.

This is a superb recording of very accessible free jazz.


Track Listing: A Soft Day; Game Of Two Halves; Where Are The Snows...; Rough Crossing; Blue Dark; Embarrassment Of Witches; Transcension.

Personnel: Larry Stabbins – Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone; Howard Riley – Piano; Tony Wren – Double Bass; Mark Sanders – Drums.

Title: Four In The Afternoon | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Emanem

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