Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Better Than TV: Song From No Man's Land

187

Better Than TV: Song From No Man's Land

By

Sign in to view read count
Better Than TV: Song From No Man's Land
The children on this album's cover are shown enjoying a timeless street game. Such kids often play by their own rules—much like adult musicians, as Better Than TV proves here. A collective from Cambridge, UK, the band is led by bassist Sergio Contrino, whose Italian heritage finds an outlet on this eclectic disc.

Song From No Man's Land is aptly titled, with elements of klezmer, cabaret, Nordic dance and Dixie all merging into the jazz framework. cassie gorman's lead vocal brings a theatrical twist, as she tackles English, Italian and Latin lyrics with a flourish. "Before I Go" makes for a striking opening song with its energised percussion and rallying brass. "Standing With Sally" gives another zesty tune and snappy chorus, which then broadens out into wider improv. Each musician gets ample chance to shine across the album, with Contrino's pumping bass holding things in check.

Two trumpets, a trombone and a sax on board means you hear hints of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble in some slower sections. You might also catch the sophistication of Brad Mehldau, the genre-twisting threesome The Bad Plus, and Joshua Redman's gleeful strains. Which is not to tag Contrino's work as derivative—he is, after all, an associate composer at the London Symphony Orchestra's Soundhub project. But he likes to spice his broth with many flavours and creates a richly soulful brew.

Also impressive are the tone shifts within each number. Some pieces have more mood swings than a flighty teenager. Pensive piano lines, bruising ballads, lounge grooves, Latin airs and courtly chamber motifs are all here. "Da Iontano" draws on classic bop, just as "Gerico" offers a funky strut with flamenco strumming. The sax on "Norway" pipes up with sweet clarity and "Hey Joe" is a word-busy song that reflects the verbal barrage of election campaigns.

Having ironed out the sound issues that marred their debut effort, Better Than TV offers a tight and eloquent follow-up. On this evidence, Contrino's class act would be worth going some distance to see live. Song From No Man's Land is a hymn to this group's sheer vitality.

Track Listing

Before I Go; Gerico; Standing With Sally; Da Iontano; Latin Song; Norway; Für Louis; Hey Joe; Samba Per Mi; Bus Stop Blu; L’Attesa E’ Lunga.

Personnel

Alastair Appleton: saxophone; Ben Comeau; piano; Cassie Gorman: vocals; Daniel Duffy: guitar; Gabriel Bliard: trumpet; Joe Davighi: drums; Louis Day: trumpet; Luke Congdon: piano; Rowan Haslam: vocals, cello; Sergio Contrino: bass; Simon Fothergill: trombone.

Album information

Title: Song From No Man's Land | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Whisper Not
Paul Kendall
Duo Work
Grdina/Lillinger
Tubes
Sam Newsome
Blue Topaz
Peter Hand

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.