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Album Review

Mosaic: Subterranea

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Mosaic: Subterranea
Mosaic is led by Royal Academy of Music jazz graduate Ralph Wyld's whose debut album for Edition Records augurs well for this London-based musician. Opening with "White Horses," this track holds the key to Wyld's imaginative compositions; starting slowly, the initial use of horns and arco strings for tonal colour is deceptive as the mood rapidly builds with the deployment of feisty vibraphone and drums. The light and shade of the piece is evinced by swathes of alternating crescendo and diminuendo.

On "Kaira Konko" the listener might be reminded of the compositions of Michael Gibbs who skillfully used the interplay of vibraphone and cello on his earliest albums. Wyld's sustain-rich technique here is actually not unlike Gibbs's vibraphonist on these albums, Frank Ricotti. James Copus turns in a lithe flugelhorn solo here too.

Spacey, echoey string effects dominate "Interlude I" acting as a precursor to the title track, Wyld's delicate vibraphone introducing the track, shortly accompanied by the strings and horns. Wyld solos convincingly and his playing at times is even reminiscent of one of the maestros of the vibraphone Gary Burton.

A reprise of the sonic effects of "Interlude" heralds the penultimate piece, "Cryptogram" initially evoking the angular dissonance characterised by that other master of the vibraphone Bobby Hutcherson. The number evolves to incorporate the toe-tapping yet surgically precise drumming of Scott Chapman and then segues into the closer "Reprise" which elicits more exquisite Gibbs-like vibraphone / cello interplay, soon attended by a sumptuous, elegiac ensemble finale.

The jazz-world is not over-endowed with vibraphonist-led groups so this album, rich in strong and irresistible compositions makes a decidedly refreshing change.

Track Listing

White Horses; Kaira Konko; Interlude I; Subterranea; Interlude II; Cryptogram; Reprise.

Personnel

Ralph Wyld: vibraphone; James Copus: trumpet, flugelhorn; Sam Rapley: clarinet, bass clarinet; Cecilia Bignall: cello; Misha Mullov-Abbado: double bass; Scott Chapman: drums, percussion.

Album information

Title: Subterranea | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Edition Records

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