Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

110

Curlew: "Meet The Curlews!"

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Curlew have never been a band to rest on their laurels or to milk a successful formula. Across two decades and their eight albums to date, they have constantly changed personnel and instrumentation, and explored an ever-evolving musical territory. On Meet The Curlews!, long-time members George Cartwright and Davey Williams welcome newcomers Bruce Golden, Fred Chalenor and Chris Parker. The resulting line-up is about as conventional as Curlew get. Gone are the cello, the vocals, the Ornette-meets-Stax funkiness, the twin guitars, and the twin saxophones of various past albums.

As ever with Curlew, the music defies categorisation, being derived as much from the language of rock as from jazz (but certainly never being jazz-rock). Central to the music are original compositions (all five members contribute, Cartwright predominating) with memorable melodies and compelling rhythms. The playing is nearly always subservient to the overall success of a composition, without many solos, but with subtle and sustained ensemble work and interaction. The only real exceptions close out the album; "Late December (reprise)" is a slow-paced solo piano improvisation, and "Middle and Fall" is a welcome showcase for Williams' guitar and then Cartwright's sax. Those two tracks are the nearest thing here to straight-ahead jazz. Other tracks relate more tangentially to jazz, some verging on pastiche in a way reminiscent of Frank Zappa. For instance, on Cartwright's "Barn Door" the playing is mannered, even laboured, in a way that knowingly debunks the opening theme. None of this is overdone; subtlety is the key. The end result is an intriguing and pleasurable album.

Track Listing: Space Flight Cat; Late December; Meet The Curlews; Cold Ride; ARM; Hated; Sensible Shoes / Proper Fit; Barn Door; Lemon Bitter; Late December (Reprise); Middle and Fall.

Personnel: George Cartwright, alto, tenor & soprano saxophones; Davey Williams, 6 and 12 string guitars; Bruce Golden, drums and such; Fred Chalenor, bass; Chris Parker, piani, Wurlitzer electric piano.

Title: "Meet The Curlews!" | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "You & I" CD/LP/Track Review You & I
by James Nadal
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Life Of Sensitive Creatures" CD/LP/Track Review Life Of Sensitive Creatures
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "Blue Maqams" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Maqams
by John Kelman
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Lux" CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Danza Imposible" CD/LP/Track Review Danza Imposible
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review Horizonte
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2017