A graduate of London's Trinity College of Music, this is in-demand bassist Matt Ridley's second album as leader. On "Music To Drive Home To" Jason Yarde plays a repeated plangent melody on soprano saxophone followed by John Turville elegantly soloing on piano. As its name implies "Lachrymose" is something of a tear-jerking exercise with Yarde squeezing out a poignant melody from the soprano and a searching bass solo from Matt Ridley.
A morse code-like bass pulse opens "Mental Cases" providing an undercurrent for a rich serpentine soprano saxophone melody, the number rapidly developing in rhythmic intensity. "Strange Meeting" is a pastoral outing which showcases Turville's sensitive piano and Yarde's soaring soprano. "The Labyrinth" is indeed labyrinthine in construction the convoluted opening theme stated by Yarde's soprano, Ridley then employs slower arco bass before the pace quickens for a sprightly soprano solo.
One interpretation of the buddhist word "Mettã" is of a friendship that doesn't suffer from the negative side of attachment. As if to reinforce the spiritual aspect of this piece, there is a considerable meditative element to this strong title track. From the start Yarde is able to conjure-up an Eastern, "woody" sounding voicing on the soprano saxophone before the piece slows into an almost hypnotic rhythm with a deeply resonant pizzicato bass solo from Ridley.
The final piano-led track "Ebb and Flow," again benefits from Yarde's inventive soprano saxophone. Indeed this exceptionally talented saxophonist must now rank as one of the U.K's finest jazz musicians, already a mainstay of Louis Moholo-Moholo's quartet, he has appeared in bands led by the likes of Sam Rivers, Hermeto Pascoal, McCoy Tyner and Jack DeJohnette. All the while the effervescent high notes of his soprano are counterbalanced by Matt Ridley's deep Scott LaFaro-like bass. This is a very good album by an excellent quartet and augurs well for Ridley's next album.
Music To Drive Home To; Lachrymose; Mental Cases; Strange Meeting;
The Labyrinth; Mettã; Ebb & Flow.
Matt Ridley: double bass; Jason Yarde: soprano saxophone; John
Turville: piano; George Hart: drums.