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Articles by Roger Farbey

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Leak and Dan Tepfer: Adrift

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Adrift is an unusual recording featuring two pianos in an original work by Sam Leak. It's hard to neatly categorise since it presumably draws its influences from a variety of sources. It could be described as neo-classical, minimalist or chamber jazz but is most probably a mixture of all these elements since it assiduously resists any generic definition. Leak might have been influenced by a whole swathe of composers; the ghosts of Erik Satie, Arnold Schoenberg, Duke Ellington and perhaps ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Beck Quartet Featuring Joy Marshall: When Sunny Gets Blue: Spring ’68 Sessions

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For British jazz fans, the late Gordon Beck probably needs no introduction. Beck was undoubtedly one of the best and most undervalued pianists the UK has produced. Joy Marshall, however, is perhaps not so well-known. Born in New York, Marshall moved to England in 1962 at the age of 25, where she resided until her tragic death in November 1968. She married saxophonist Peter King in November 1962, but later became romantically involved with Tubby Hayes, who was smitten by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Josephine Davies' Satori: In The Corners Of Clouds

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It's interesting to compare In The Corners Of Clouds with Josephine Davies' previous album simply entitled Satori (Whirlwind, 2017). That live album was recorded at a gig in London in 2016, whereas In The Corners Of Clouds was recorded at Buffalo Studios, London in February 2018. The line-up has changed slightly too with Paul Clarvis replaced by James Maddren on drums, but essentially both share the attributes of consistent inventiveness. The serpentine, Eastern-inflected “Wabi Sabi" catches and holds ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ant Law: Life I Know

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Ant Law's third album and the follow-up to Zero Sum World (Whirlwind, 2015), is an impressive affair. The eight compositions reflect some of the guitarist's influences and experiences, real or imaginary. Since moving to London in the 2000s, Law has acted as sideman to various leading musicians including Tim Garland and recorded on Partikel's third album, the critically acclaimed Counteraction (Whirlwind, 2017). “Movies" opens the set with Law insinuating a coruscating solo which, at its apex, is redolent ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler: Invisible Sounds: For Kenny Wheeler

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The trumpeter Kenny Wheeler who died on 18 September 2014, aged 84, was one of the true greats of jazz but one who never quite attained the popular recognition that some of his contemporaries achieved. Nevertheless, to his peers and audiences around the world he was an international treasure. Born in Canada in 1930, Wheeler moved to England in 1952, playing with a variety of bands including, notably, John Dankworth's orchestra with whom he recorded the first album of his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Flying Machines: New Life

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It takes barely a couple of plays but then the main hook line of Alex Munk's stonking title track grabs you and won't let go. This is very much in the vein of mid-period Frank Zappa with Munk's guitar wired to the extreme end of the jazz/metal spectrum. But it's not all sound and fury, as the sultry “Moondust" attests. On the short “Prelude To Elation" and the eight minute “Elation," Munk contributes some ethereal wordless vocals, but the main ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Walter Smith III / Matthew Stevens / Joel Ross / Harish Raghavan / Marcus Gilmore: In Common

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Eschewing the traditional desire for their compositions to be individually attributed, this group of five virtuosos has instead determined to retain a collective responsibility for their music. This is a brave philosophy but it works remarkably well. In this spirit, “freefive" is a tentative improvised duet between Walter Smith III on tenor saxophone and Matthew Stevens on guitar. Things take off on the swinging “Unsung," Stevens' crystalline guitar tone now channeling Bill Frisell. “YINZ" is a more obvious ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lorraine Baker: Eden

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Lorraine Baker graduated with First Class Honours from South East London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2009. Since then, she's worked with many of the UK's leading jazz musicians and in addition to such sessions she's also freelance drum tutor. Fellow drummer Jeff Williams is quoted describing Baker as having a “unique style" and “does not sound like anyone else." Judging by this recording, those words are emphatically true. She's chosen on her debut album to pay ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Camilla George: The People Could Fly

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Camilla George's follow-up to her debut album Isang (Ubuntu, 2016) is, if anything, even better than her first. The record's title derives from a picture book of folktales by Virginia Hamilton portraying the plight of African slaves and how they could escape their oppression by flying back to their homeland. The titles of seven of the eight tracks directly reflect the subjects of enslavement and freedom. The eighth track, with its sympathetic lyrics ("How did I get so far gone? ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gabrielle Ducomble: Across The Bridge

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Belgian-born and London-based chanteuse Gabrielle Ducomble is gifted with an irresistible voice. Obvious comparisons can be made (and usually are) to the great Edit Piaf or at a pinch, a jazzier Mireille Mathieu, but this does Ducomble a disservice since she exudes her own unique vocal charm. Across The Bridge follows in the footsteps of Ducomble's first two albums, J'ai Deux Amours (2011) and Notes From Paris (2014), remaining stylistically true to form to its predecessors. In common with the ...