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Better Than TV: Late

Roger Farbey By

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Better Than TV: Late Five students from Cambridge (UK) recorded this debut album over two sessions, six months apart. The first session from 10 June 2013 opens with "1000 And One" on an ostinato bass figure and relaxed McCoy Tyner-esque piano. This is a relatively straightforward modal piece but with some engaging solos from the brass section and some. By contrast, "Standing With Sally" introduces some memorable funky rhythms and ensemble passages. "Elliulogy" opens just with the horns, New Orleans style; a bluesy number carefully crafted and includes some excellent piano soloing.

"Morse" elicits some adventurous trumpet soloing from Gavin Spence and David Burgoyne again presents some confident piano soloing over the horn sections. The piano again dominates with a minor chord vamp on "pm" and is excitingly rejoined by short solos from the horns.

From the second recording session (from 8 December 2013) "FEAB" has a melancholic feel, vaguely reminiscent of the opening to Gary Burton's A Genuine Tong Funeral, with the trombone leading the lugubrious melody and dirge-like responses from the ensemble. "Samba Per Mi" evokes late period Ian Carr's Nucleus, the snake-like themes enveloping a more relaxed and fluid piano solo. "Se Volete" is centred on a robust riff anchored by the bass guitar, with again, shades of Nucleus or maybe even the late-lamented British jazz rock quintet Landscape.

Finally, the title track sports an upbeat medium-to-fast tempo fuelled by Ed Blake's keen drumming, and adorned by a repeated irresistible riff. However, although ostensibly the ultimate track on the album, following its conclusion and with a gap of some twenty seconds, there's an unadvertised "encore" of sorts, with a six minute alternate take of "Standing With Sally."

The two sessions documented were recorded "live" -minus an actual audience -in a recital room at Churchill College, Cambridge (UK) which has facilities for recording and a good piano. The net result is sonically nearer to a gig recording than a studio one, the sound is slightly muddy at times, more so on the second session, but on the upside, the compositions (all penned by bassist Sergio Contrino), arrangements and performances are first class.

Track Listing: 1000 And One; Standing With Sally; Elliulogy; Morse; pm; FEAB; Samba Per Mi; Se Volete; Late (plus alternate take of Standing With Sally)

Personnel: David Burgoyne: piano; Ed Blake: drums; Gavin Spence: trumpet/flugelhorn; Sergio Contrino: bass guitar; Tom Green: trombone

Title: Late | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced


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