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.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio Multiple Reviews The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 12, 2017
Read Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read Roots In The Green Mountains Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read Green Mountain Jazz Multiple Reviews Green Mountain Jazz
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Guitars on Three Continents Multiple Reviews Guitars on Three Continents
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana Multiple Reviews Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Steel Guitar, Snow and Sunny Beaches: Five New Albums on Losen Records" Multiple Reviews Steel Guitar, Snow and Sunny Beaches: Five New Albums on...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition" Multiple Reviews NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana" Multiple Reviews Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "In Jazz We Trust: On The Politically Inspired Work Of Delfeayo Marsalis and Ted Nash" Multiple Reviews In Jazz We Trust: On The Politically Inspired Work Of...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "New, Notable and Nearly Missed" Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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