2

Aquarium: Places

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Aquarium: Places Aquarium is a young British quartet with a melodic and accessible approach to jazz. Places follows the band's acclaimed self-titled debut (Babel Label, 2011) and features the same lineup of exciting new generation musicians. It finds the band exploring in more depth the melodic and at times very spiritual music which characterised its debut and enhances Aquarium's reputation for high quality music.

The monochrome cover features a photograph of just one of Aquarium's members—Sam Leak. This emphasises Leak's key role in the band; as founder (in 2008), leader, sole composer and pianist; but Aquarium is definitely an ensemble. Although Leak's fluid solos loom large saxophonist James Allsopp's contributions are equally telling and the rhythm section combination of bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer Joshua Blackmore is a triumph of unselfish creativity.

There is tension and urgency on Places—notably on "Catherine Grove," named after a London street where Leak was robbed in early 2012—but Aquarium shows its strength with greatest success on the more positive and relaxed numbers. The east-meets-west groove of "Marrakech," the spiritual vibe of "Milan"—with Allsop and Leak at their delicately meditative best—and the romance of "Daybreak" are all the products of a mature and increasingly intuitive band.

While "positive and relaxed" may be the rule, "February" stands out as the exception. As befits a tune named after what is often the most miserable and gloomy point of the British winter this is a downbeat number. Leak's piano suggests the slow, heavy, footfall of a reluctant traveller, then Allsop's sonorous bass clarinet makes its appearance and the temperature falls another ten degrees. Yet the effect is graceful, lovely and ultimately life-affirming.

"Milan (Live)," recorded at the 2011 London Jazz Festival, features Sam Crockatt's intense tenor saxophone. It's denser and darker than the studio version, but the mix gives too little prominence to the saxophone and Crockatt's performance loses impact as a result. It's a slightly disappointing end to Places, an otherwise extremely well-recorded album from a fine young band.


Track Listing: Places; Marrakech; Milan; Scribbles And Scrawls; February; Clutter; Catherine Grove; Daybreak; Milan (Live).

Personnel: Sam Leak: piano; James Allsop: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Calum Gourlay: double bass; Joshua Blackmore: drums; Sam Crockatt: tenor saxophone (9); Sam Lasserson: bass (9).

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Jellymould Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Night Music" CD/LP/Track Review Night Music
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "El Viaje" CD/LP/Track Review El Viaje
by James Nadal
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Blow" CD/LP/Track Review Blow
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Manovuotometro" CD/LP/Track Review Manovuotometro
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "An Eclipse Of Images" CD/LP/Track Review An Eclipse Of Images
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "More Figs And Blue Things" CD/LP/Track Review More Figs And Blue Things
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!