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...

265

Kit Downes Trio: Quiet Tiger

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
When it's time to follow up an album nominated for a major, mainstream award such as Britain's Mercury Prize, jazz artists face a conundrum. Having enjoyed a year or so of unprecedented publicity, and keen to keep it coming, the choice is between a carbon copy of the nominated album, designed to maintain the lucrative, but fragile connection with non-specialist critics and listeners, and a less commercially considered trajectory, going where the music dictates.

Led Bib's Bring Your Own (Cuneiform, 2011), the group's follow up to its Mercury-nominated Sensible Shoes (Cuneiform, 2009), trod a middle path, although one that steered close to the commercially savvy. Pianist Kit Downes, perhaps, has chosen a more adventurous direction with his delightful Quiet Tiger, the follow up to his Mercury-nominated Golden (Basho, 2009).

Downes has retained his core trio, with bassist Calum Gourlay and drummer James Maddren, but augments it, on most tracks, with cellist Adrien Dennefeld and tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist James Allsopp, who is often overdubbed on both horns. Downes has also retained his finely judged balance between the lyrical and the abstract, and his gift for sapient grooves, but used the increased harmonic and textural possibilities opened up by the expanded lineup to take his music into a bigger, and at times darker, playground.

The addition of Allsopp, in particular, gives Downes' "trio" a weight and breadth of expression not unlike that heard on Neon Quartet's Catch Me (Edition, 2010), another highly recommended disc, on which Downes was featured alongside saxophonist Stan Sulzmann. Downes' focus on Quiet Tiger continues to be the core trio, but Allsopp's overdubbed voicings are sufficiently integral to the sound that , when the group takes to the road later in 2011, the reed player will be joined on stage by tenor saxophonist Josh Arceleo, the better to recreate them.

Even at its darkest, as on the sinister "Wooden Birds," Quiet Tiger hums with joie de vivre. Mostly, this is understated, but occasionally it breaks into an outright laugh: on the up-tempo and rollicking "Tambourine," Downes channels the bluesy chromaticism of Abdullah Ibrahim to great effect, returning to a similar stylistic ballpark on the slower, dreamier "Skip James." The lyrical "With A View," "In Brixen" and "Fonias" are simply gorgeous, while "The Wizards," Allsopp's showcase track, is surging and forceful, foregrounding the tenor saxophonist over big piano and even bigger drums.

As a member of Neon Quartet, Allsopp's Golden Age of Steam and Troyka, Downes gave British listeners several truckloads of pleasure in 2010. In 2011, with his trio—be it a three piece, a quintet or (live) a sextet—he's doing so again.

Track Listing: Boreal; Tambourine; With A View; Frizzi Pazzi; Attached; In Brixen; Wooden Birds; Fonias; The Wizards; Skip James; Quiet Tiger.

Personnel: Kit Downes: piano; Calum Gourlay: double bass; James Maddren: drums; James Allsopp: tenor saxophone and bass clarinet (1-3, 5, 7, 9-11); Adrien Dennefeld: cello (1-3, 5, 7, 9-11).

Title: Quiet Tiger | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Basho Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Skip James

Skip James

Kit Downes
Label Love Vol. 5: The Jazz...

CD/LP/Track Review
Jazzin' Around Europe
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Obsidian

Obsidian

ECM Records
2018

buy
Such A Sky

Such A Sky

Self Produced
2017

buy
Vyamanikal

Vyamanikal

Slip Imprint
2016

buy
Tricko

Tricko

Coup Perdu
2015

buy
Kit Downes: Light From Old Stars

Kit Downes: Light...

Basho Records
2014

buy
Wedding Music

Wedding Music

Loop Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Decay Of The Angel CD/LP/Track Review
Decay Of The Angel
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica CD/LP/Track Review
Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Sorrows & Triumphs CD/LP/Track Review
Sorrows & Triumphs
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Od Ponedelnik CD/LP/Track Review
Od Ponedelnik
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Coast to Crossroads CD/LP/Track Review
Coast to Crossroads
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2018
Read Body CD/LP/Track Review
Body
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 13, 2018
Read "Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers" CD/LP/Track Review Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 2, 2018
Read "Down Memory Lane, Vols 3 and 4" CD/LP/Track Review Down Memory Lane, Vols 3 and 4
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 17, 2018
Read "Please Advise" CD/LP/Track Review Please Advise
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 5, 2018
Read "Live In Geneva" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Geneva
by John Sharpe
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Breathe" CD/LP/Track Review Breathe
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018