Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

372

Hugh Hopper: Numero D'Vol

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Hugh Hopper's a busy man as far as recording goes these days, and this one comes more or less immediately after Soft Machine Legacy's Steam on the same label. Comparison between the two perhaps reveals this one as a more varied affair, with the music lacking the air of tension that's such a constructive feature of the other title. This music however stands up in its own right, and the fact that it's been put out by a quartet in thrall to an entirely different dynamic makes it an example of how diverse a musician's output can be.

The style of fuzz bass that Hopper has made his own comes to the fore on "Earwigs Enter" and the music is vaguely amorphous, hinting as it does at compellingly dark forces. Simon Picard on tenor sax is effectively left high and dry from the harmonic point of view, not least because Steve Franklin's keyboards are deployed as much for color as they are in laying down a harmonic foundation. The result is deeply satisfying, however, and not least because the dark timbre of Picard's sound is ideal for the music. This is apparent also on "Free Bee" where his penchant for melismatic, intriguingly unresolved phrases hints at a wealth of possibilities, especially as the leader's bass playing doesn't take on the roving commission it does elsewhere.

Not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with this, anymore than there is with the deployment of his instrument as coloration on "Straight Away." On this one the mood is one of restraint at times barely contained, with that coming most overtly and paradoxically in the form of Charles Hayward's restricted drum part. Picard's work on this one is pared down and he makes every note count in a piece that's as much impressionistic as it is anything.

"Get That Tap" is in a similar vein, but again the band skilfully sidesteps every cliché in the book to fashion music as distinctive as anything here. Hopper's bass on this one assumes a quasi-percussive role and Franklin's staccato keyboard washes serve as a polar opposite to Picard's lyricism.

It's to be hoped that Hopper manages to keep this band together for further recording projects. The fact that this whole program is credited to all four members of the band suggests it's a highly cooperative effort. Fair enough if so. It's high time such values were repeatedly celebrated in these times of unscrupulous individualism.


Track Listing: Numero D'Vol; On The Spot; Earwigs Enter; Free Bee; Get That Tap; Bootz; Shovelfeet; Bees Knees Man; Straight Away; Twilight; Some Other Time.

Personnel: Simon Picard: tenor sax; Steve Franklin: keyboards; Hugh Hopper: bass; Charles Hayward: drums.

Title: Numero D'Vol | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Moonjune Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Glow of Benares CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Magic Circle CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read A Gathering Foretold CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Forever Young" CD/LP/Track Review Forever Young
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 1, 2017
Read "Chromola" CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Petite Afrique" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Time for the Dancers" CD/LP/Track Review Time for the Dancers
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 30, 2017

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!