All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

1

Nightports w/Matthew Bourne: Nightports

Gareth Thompson By

Sign in to view read count
The night he was named Perrier Young Jazz Musician 2001, pianist Matthew Bourne gave a performance that rather set out his stall. Using stillness and eruptions in the mode of Ran Blake, with soundtrack samples from Willy Wonka, Bourne played like a man possessed. Since then he's left few tones unturned in the search for new auras.

Nightports is a series from UK-based The Leaf Label, where only sounds produced by the featured musician can be used. Most intriguing here is Bourne's choice of instruments, most of which were recorded at Besbrode Pianos in Leeds, West Yorkshire. To name just a few—a 1907 Bechstein Model E, a Ritmüller grand from 1922, and an unrestored Steinway Model A from 1898.

The nine pieces on Nightports were premiered live in Hull, when it was named UK City of Culture in 2017. Back then Bourne used three other artists onstage. For this album he goes it solo, but with overdubs, synthesised edits and the clattering of vintage pianos for percussive effect.

Nightports opens with a piece defiantly named "Exit," using dappled notes and rhythmic knockings to create a sense of urgency, yet also urging caution. "Window" offers placid ripples, as one background chord twinkles away like a lighthouse flashing. "White-Shirted" gets polyrhythmic and snappy, then tapers into something quite hair-raising. Next comes "This Trip" where the left hand mimics a wild heartbeat, whilst other fingers make sprinkles that tingle like nerve endings. It really is out of body stuff by this point.

Bourne grew up in the English countryside and a hushed mistiness has often pervaded his work. On two numbers here, "Annie" and "Over," a sense of longing is palpable. The pianist also seems to coax aloneness from his instruments—never more so than on "Fragile Years" where the keys sound muffled, as if dampened by time and neglect.

Much plucking of wire strings gives the feel of a child finding a piano in some cobwebbed cellar. We get the delight of conjuring sounds for sheer fun. At the same time this twanging lends an ethnic vibe, as if the piano has become an exotic folk instrument.

Things close out with the dark ballet of "Leave" and its alluring rhythms that only just synchronise. Hell, you could even dance to this piece, albeit in a rather scary way. All of which sums up the essence of Nightports—a visceral and classical work of great beauty. In finding stories for each piano used here, Bourne has created a narrative filled with quiet joy and reflection.

Track Listing: Exit; Window; White-Shirted; This Trip; Annie; Over; Look Me In The Eye; Fragile Years; Leave.

Personnel: Matthew Bourne: piano; Adam Martin and Mark Slater: synths and programming.

Title: Nightports | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: The Leaf Label

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Nightports

Nightports

The Leaf Label
2018

buy
 

Chansons D'Amour

Thirsty Ear
2012

buy
Montauk Variations

Montauk Variations

The Leaf Label
2012

buy
 

Lost Something

Hollywood & Highland Summer Jazz Concert Series
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Words And Music" CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Ariel" CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "A Thing Called Joe" CD/LP/Track Review A Thing Called Joe
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Phil Barnes
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "The Groove Cubed" CD/LP/Track Review The Groove Cubed
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 29, 2017