The opening title track maintains a plaintive trance-like modal mood throughout with deft interjections from Phil Robson on guitar, Kit Downes on piano and Josh Arcoleo on tenor saxophone. "The Interloper" is quirkier with a definite Monkish feel and appropriate block piano chords with occasional swirls of sound all underpinning Arcoleo's tenor, followed by solos from Downes and Sam Lasserson on bass. But then the mood changes with a comparatively heavier "Dream Visitor," Phil Robson's guitar work is very much to the fore here, most especially when treated with electronic effects, whilst drums and piano provide a powerful backdrop before the theme is taken over by the tenor. Almost at once the tempo slows dramatically whilst still maintaining the heavy feel with a repeated vamp on guitar and electric bass before returning to the original opening riff.
"Meeting A Stranger" is a relaxed ballad with leader Jeff Williams sensitively encouraging the momentum. Kit Downes and Phil Robson turn in fine solos here too. Downes introduces the breezy, medium tempo "New And Old" with solos from Lasserson, Downes and Arcoleo. "Hermeto," the longest track on the album, is Williams' paean to one of his heroes, Hermeto Pascoal. Whilst not imitating Pascoal's compositional style, it possesses its own unique attractiveness, particularly in its opening themes stated alternately by guitar and tenor. The closer, "Oddity" opening with a brief drum foray, is a breezy fast-paced number featuring some vibrant solos from the entire group.
This is a very good album which benefits from Williams' imaginative compositions and the ensemble's excellent musicianship. It's also a grower, so play frequently for a lasting effect.
Outlier; The Interloper; Dream Visitor; Meeting A Stranger; New And Old;
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.