Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
256

Roy Campbell: Songs & Themes & Akhenaten Suite

By

Sign in to view read count








Spring Heel Jack
Songs & Themes
Thirsty Ear
2008


Roy Campbell
Akhenaten Suite
AUM Fidelity
2008




Trumpeter Roy Campbell is presented here in two starkly different contexts yet his playing greatly enhances both. His work on Spring Heel Jack's Songs & Themes is meditatively translucent, subtle timbral shifts placing each note inside whatever context John Coxon and Ashley Wales provide. The first two notes he plays on "Church Music" demonstrate the depth of feeling with which he imbues each phrase, sliding expressively down a fifth and allowing just a hint of vibrato. By contrast, "For Paul Rutherford" finds him in the company of a lone drum, exhorting, moaning and shrieking through muted horn in a stunningly beautiful expression of grief and exaltation. His flute work is equally fine, among the high points of what is largely a disappointing offering from SHJ. There are certainly moments of tonal interest combined with harmonic beauty, such as the harrowing final track, and saxophonist John Tchicai's playing is more rawly emotive than ever, but the whole is merely a sum of the parts; the heady, rhythmically diverse but pulse-driven days of Masses and Amassed are missed.

Campbell's seven-part composition Akhenaten Suite—modal explorations inspired by Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep—is much more successful. While attending the 2007 Vision Festival where this album was recorded was somewhat underwhelming, the piece proves to be quite discogenic. Campbell and violinist Billy Bang's improvisational styles are flexible but remarkably similar as they spur each other on to one masterful solo after another. As with the SHJ album, there is plenty of room for meditative passages, as heard in the ethnically-inflected opening to "Pharaoh's Revenge," but a unifying energy underlies the three microsuites, most likely due to the presence of an audience. Vibraharpist Bryan Carrott, bassist Hilliard Greene and drummer Zen Matsuura maintain a cool authority throughout, a nice contrast to the heated solos emanating from the front line.

Both discs use what might be called transcultural timbres but those on Akhenaten Suite serve a better-founded structure and more integrated form. However, Campbell enthusiasts will enjoy both.


Tracks and Personnel

Songs & Themes

Tracks: Church Music; Dereks; With Out Words; Eupen; For Paul Rutherford; Folk Players; Silvertone; Claraa; 1,000 Yards; Antiphon; At Long Last; Garlands.

Personnel: Roy Campbell, Jr.: trumpet, pocket trumpet, flugelhorn, flute; John Coxon: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, sampler, violin, glockenspiel; John Edwards: double bass; Tony Marsh: drums; Orphy Robinson: vibraphone; John Tchicai: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Ashley Wales: samples; J. Spaceman: electric guitar; Rupert Clervaux: drums; Mark Sanders: drums.

Akhenaten Suite

Tracks: Akhenaten (Amenophis, Amenhotep IV); Aten and Amarna; Pharaohïs Revenge (Akhenaten) Intro Part 1; Pharaohïs Revenge Part 1; Pharaohïs Revenge (Tutankhamun) Intro Part 2; Pharaohïs Revenge Part 2; Sunset On The Nile.

Personnel: Roy Campbell: trumpet, flugelhorn, recorder, arghul; Billy Bang: violin; Bryan Carrott: vibraharp; Hilliard Greene: bass; Zen Matsuura: drums.


Shop

Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Akhenaten Suite
Akhenaten Suite
AUM Fidelity
2008
buy
Arts Interplay
Arts Interplay
Verve Records
2008
buy
Isms Out
Isms Out
CIMP Records
2005
buy
It's Krunch Time
It's Krunch Time
Thirsty Ear Recordings
2001
buy
Ethnic Stew And Brew
Ethnic Stew And Brew
Delmark Records
2001
buy
[no cover]
New Kingdom
Verve Records
1992
buy
Wynton Marsalis Wynton Marsalis
trumpet
Marcus Printup Marcus Printup
trumpet
Lee Morgan Lee Morgan
trumpet
Andrew Hill Andrew Hill
piano
Woody Shaw Woody Shaw
trumpet
Lester Bowie Lester Bowie
trumpet
Hamiet Bluiett Hamiet Bluiett
sax, baritone
Paolo Fresu Paolo Fresu
trumpet
Brian Lynch Brian Lynch
trumpet
Myra Melford Myra Melford
piano
Alex Sipiagin Alex Sipiagin
trumpet

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.