This is the third CD the British saxophonist has recorded for the 33Jazz label and an exciting one it is. Theo Travis' second CD View from the Edge, was voted Best British Jazz CD of 1994 by the Jazz on CD Readers/Critics poll. Travis' musical experience is by no means limited to jazz. Since May 1999 he has been part of the group Gong, whose music has been variously described as cosmic/ psychedelic/ jazz / improvised / progressive rock / space metal, etc. The psychedelic influence is very apparent on "The Crow Road" with the Travis soprano trying to excise or feed the demons those drugs the 1960's culture spawned. This cut notwithstanding, this album offers 60 minutes plus of music of varying modes by Travis' talented band members augmented from time to time with invited guests. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" has a calypso beat laid down by Gary Hammond's congas and Marc Parnell's drums. The opener, "Lulworth Night", is a rambling but pretty dissertation by Travis and Gordon. The only song Travis didn't compose, Charlie Mingus' classic "Nostalgia in Times Square", is done as sophisticated swing featuring some excellent work by McCoy Tyner-like pianist David Gordon. On this cut, Travis' tenor assumes a light, delicate sound as Gary Hammond once again adds a subtle calypso beat on congas. This is one of the highlight tracks of the album. "Waterlily Boogie" despite a title which hints at some bouncy syncopated tempos, turns out to be melancholy, a mood which Rob Statham's bowed bass helps to create. Statham's contribution notwithstanding, the tune is built around a very thoughtful colloquy between Travis' tenor and Gordon's piano showing that their long association has resulted in an intuitive sense where each knows the other's improvisional intent. Very good stuff. "Details" builds on Gordon's measured opening chords which act as a seque to Travis' pensive sax as the bass plucks along at a much faster pace underneath, in contrast. Travis does some very ruminative noodling on this track surrounded
The liner notes contain the exhortation that "this CD sounds even better loud". Very bad advice. The melodic and harmonic subtleties get lost when the volume is turned up. Travis must have been wearing his Gong hat when he suggested this. Recommended. Visit TheoTravis on his web page at www.travis33.demon.co.uk.
Track Listing: Lulworth Night#; The Crow Road*; After the Storm*; Waterlily Boogie#; Details*; Out of Sight, Out of Mind; Three People*$; Full Moon Rising*$; Nostalgia in Times Square#
Personnel: Theo Travis - Tenor & Soprano Saxophones; David Gordon - Piano; Rob Statham, Dave Sturt - Bass$; Marc Parnell, Andrew Small$ - Drums; John Etheridge* - Guitar/Indian Fretless Guitar; Gary Hammond# - Percussion
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.