5

The Greg Foat Group: Girl with Robot and Flowers

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
The Greg Foat Group: Girl with Robot and Flowers

A lugubrious brass arrangement combined with keyboard and rock steady drums heralds the opening to "Girl with Robot and Flowers (Part I)," augmented by a plaintive harmonica. "Have Spacesuit Will Travel" has a filmic quality to it, and as the album title suggests—a spacey feel, with echoey piano redolent of a John Barry or Roy Budd soundtrack.

Greg Foat's Hammond L100 intermittently recalls Brian Auger and at times even Soft Machine or Caravan, the latter group's influence especially evident on "Girl and Robot with Flowers (Part II)." Throughout the album whole sound is underpinned by an essential brass section, with occasional augmentation by acoustic guitars, both 6 and 12 string—heard at the start of "Girl and Robot with Flowers (Part III)." Though this title track—divided into six parts spread over the album—is based on few chords and a repeated theme, the dynamics of Foat's arrangements makes it all feel much more illustrious, giving the overriding feel of the album one of sheer vibrancy. Foat's undoubted admiration for the late 1960s and early 1970s British jazz rock is evident here, but he's savvy enough to afford it a fresh feel and totally avoids pastiche.

"For a Breath I Tarry," is a quieter interlude with modal piano and sonorous trumpet solo by Matthew Halsall, elegantly recalling the exquisitely poignant sound the late Ian Carr obtained on his solo album Sounds and Sweet Airs.

"Cast Adrift" does just this and interpolates a repeated pulse which effectively partitions the preceding and succeeding sections. "Girl with Robot and Flowers (Part IV)" begins slowly and plaintively with a reintroduced harmonica but gives way to a faster section with soprano sax solo saturated by reverb, but with the tight rhythm section always leading the pace. "Girl with Robot and Flowers (Part V)" retains the faster pace here but with added, albeit restrained, vibraphone. A fade-out here allows segueing into the revisiting of "Have Spacesuit Will Travel (Part II)" that confirms what a captivatingly unique sound Foat has developed here, replete with Floydian space-synthesizer effects as if to underline the science fiction-based song titles.

The alliteratively-titled and synth-spacey "Clear Skies Select Stick" soothes the proceedings somewhat, preceding the equally relaxed piano of "Blues for Lila," probably the most conventionally jazzy piece on the album. As a finale, "Girl with Robot and Flowers (Part VI)" starts majestically, building-up to a medium paced workout with triumphant flugelhorn solo, the track quietly closing the album.

Foat's strength is a marriage of emotionally-charged music combined with a lack of over-complex compositions. The arrangements however, are not simplistic and the whole album is defined by an extraordinary strength of performance and conviction.


Track Listing: Girl and Robot with Flowers (Part I); Have Spacesuit will Travel (Part I); Girl and Robot with Flowers (Part II); Girl and Robot with Flowers (Part III); For a Breath I Tarry; Cast Adrift; Girl and Robot with Flowers (Part IV); Girl and Robot with Flowers (Part V); Have Spacesuit will Travel (Part II); Clear Skies Select Stick; Blues for Lila; Girl and Robot with Flowers (Part VI).

Personnel: Greg Foat: organ, synthesizer, piano, electric piano, vibraphone; Rob Mach : clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Trevor Walker: Flugelhorn; Henric Strahl: 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar; Jakob Öhrvall: double bass, electric bass; Tony Coote: drums, percussion; Philip Achille: harmonica, tambourine; Mathew Halsall: trumpet; Nils Boren: tenor saxophone; Karin Krantz Duraffourd: tuba; Jonathan Gustavsson: Flugelhorn; David Byström: trombone.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Jazzman Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Live in New York" CD/LP/Track Review Live in New York
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Wise After The Event - Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Wise After The Event - Deluxe Edition
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 23, 2016
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "The Magnificent Thad Jones" CD/LP/Track Review The Magnificent Thad Jones
by Greg Simmons
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Ena / One" CD/LP/Track Review Ena / One
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!