Recorded for Harvest in 1970, Songs Without Words was only originally released in Japan. At the time, Chris Spedding was a much sought after guitarist in jazz and rock with one of the most impressive of CVsMike Westbrook, Michael Gibbs, Jack Bruce, Ian Carr's Nucleus, Pete Brown and Frank Ricotti amongst others. The reason for its shelving/limited release seems to resulted from the guitarist's desire to move his career in other directions than the jazz-rock with which he was increasingly associated. For this release, Spedding has made one or two edits and added a bonus track. Of the musiciansJohn Marshall on drums, Roger Potter (a colleague from Battered Ornaments) on bass, John Mitchell on piano, Paul Rutherford on tromboneRutherford, a free improviser by profession and inclination is the surprise choice. And yet, consummate player that he was, Rutherford's presence provides an additional edge to the music, as well as a contrast tonally with Spedding's electric guitar. I won't pretend that it's all great but Songs Without Words is well worth your hard-earned. Spedding's grasp of dynamics has always been a great strength and those spidery, edgy guitar lines that are his trademark are well to the fore here. The compositions seem to be essentially based around heads and riffs but these are more than sufficient to stimulate some fine solos from Spedding and Rutherford, alongside strong support from Mitchell, Potter and the great John Marshall. The four longer tracks, "Station Song," "Song of the Deep" and "New Song Of Experience" are of most interest here, while "I Thought I Heard Robert Johnson Say" deserves a much longer outing. As a fan of Spedding's guitar work, it is great to hear him have the chance to stretch out on these tunes. As always with Hux Records, the release is beautifully packaged with excellent sleeve notes from writer Colin Harper.
Station Song; Plain Song; Song Of The Deep; The Forest Of Fables; New Song Of Experience; I Thought I Heard Robert Johnson Say; Sub-Continental Drift.
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.