322

Spring Heel Jack: Songs And Themes

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Spring Heel Jack: Songs And Themes At the turn of this new century the duo of John Coxon and Ashley Wales, know as Spring Heel Jack took the words to heart of Jeffrey Lebowski, commonly known as "the dude" when he proclaimed, "this aggression will not stand, man!" The pair turned from their hyper-programmed drum 'n' bass origins to a ground breaking free jazz-meets-ambient style. With Songs And Themes their reputation as master organizers is articulated to near perfection.

While they have taken up instruments; Coxon the guitar, violin and bass and Wales has played various horns and guitars on previous albums, these two act more as producers or as a co-movie directors. On the previous Masses (2001), Amassed (2002), Live (2003), and The Sweetness Of The Water (2004) they collaborated with the jazz and free improvisation superstars, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, William Parker, Tim Berne, and Paul Rutherford, to name a just a few. These combinations could never have been realized without the vision of the progressive label Thirsty Ear's chiefs Peter Gordon and Matthew Shipp, whose mission is to steer jazz back into conversation with today's musical happenings.

Their music is a combination of Teo Macero meets Brian Eno and Tetsu Inoue's house. The story revealed is Coxon and Wales' combinations of players. They pair the majestic saxophonist John Tchicai to play over waves of string washes on the track "Dereks" and devise a soundscape (reminiscent of Eno's ambient 1970's work) on "With Out Words" in which John Edwards' bass and the breath of Roy Campbell's trumpet sound more overtly human powered than they might in a strictly acoustic setting.

The dreaminess of their production includes a chamber flute recital, "Eupen," a shreddy guitar visit by J. Spaceman, "1,000 Yards," the luxurious "At Long Last," complete with sampled harp and some lurking bass clarinet by Tchicai, plus some added radio interference. No grand gestures here (i.e. aggression) except for maybe the closing track "Garlands," that features Roy Campbell's trumpet in a sort of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti scored prelude to a shootout, complete with some whistling sounds.

What is admirable is the patience displayed here, the lack of onslaught, and the sounds of master improvising into the ether.


Track Listing: 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.

Title: Songs And Themes | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Antidote CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Musical Journey Through Time CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Gentle Giants CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "In Love With" CD/LP/Track Review In Love With
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "A Multitude of Angels" CD/LP/Track Review A Multitude of Angels
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Pássaros: The Foundation of the Island" CD/LP/Track Review Pássaros: The Foundation of the Island
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Southern Avenue" CD/LP/Track Review Southern Avenue
by James Nadal
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Alfa" CD/LP/Track Review Alfa
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 10, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.