149

Nat Birchall: Sacred Dimension

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Nat Birchall: Sacred Dimension Just outside the Victorian architectural splendor of the city of Manchester lies some of England's most beautiful countryside. The area is home to a small group of musicians whose contemporary take on the music of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, among others, is creating some of the finest and most spiritual sounds around. Trumpeter Matthew Halsall, head of Gondwana Records, is one member of this group. Nat Birchall is a key figure, and Sacred Dimension, his fourth album, finds the saxophonist/composer combining Coltrane influences with the stark beauty of the Lancashire moors to create an exquisitely engaging recording.

Coltrane and Saunders are not Birchall's only spiritual and musical inspirations: reggae is also a major passion and was the music that initially inspired him to play the saxophone. Sacred Dimension has little obvious reggae influence in its sound, but the overall atmosphere of the album—the relaxed rhythmic grooves, the seemingly effortless engagement with the soul of the music—certainly shows an affinity for the genre's classic vibe.

Birchall's band is absolutely in tune with his style. Harpist Rachael Gladwin and pianist Adam Fairhall, both crucially important to the sound of Birchall's Guiding Spirit (Gondwana Records, 2010), make delicate and thoughtful contributions. Nick Blacka and Andy Hay add strong and muscular bass and drums without ever overpowering the lead players. Vibraphonist Corey Mwamba may be used sparingly, but he enhances the dynamics of the music with every note.

"Peace In Nineveh" flows gracefully, with Birchall's sinewy soprano saxophone, Fairhall's dexterous piano and Mwamba's sparky vibes weaving delightful patterns of sound over Blacka's hypnotic bass. "Radiant Will" (a title inspired by a Stanley Crouch article about Coltrane) and the title track showcase Birchall's free-flowing, warm and tender tenor sound, while both "Ancient World" and "Dance Of The Mystic" are filled with magical imagery. Individually these are five delightful tunes; together, they make Sacred Dimension into a truly impressive, and beautiful, album.


Track Listing: Ancient World; Sacred Dimension; Dance Of The Mystic; Peace In Nineveh; Radiant Will.

Personnel: Nat Birchall: saxophones; Adam Fairhall: piano; Corey Mwamba: vibes; Rachael Gladwin: harp; Nick Blacka: bass; Andy Hay: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Gondwana Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Bring Their 'A' Game" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Their 'A' Game
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Ripple" CD/LP/Track Review Ripple
by Bob Kenselaar
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette" CD/LP/Track Review Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette
by Nicola Negri
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "El Toro" CD/LP/Track Review El Toro
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Follow The Stick" CD/LP/Track Review Follow The Stick
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "Dream Delivery" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Delivery
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!