The funky "Hops 'n' Scotch" kicks off this lively set, with keyboardist Francis employing Fender Rhodes and synths in Herbie Hancock mode. Languid acoustic piano opens "Winnebago" which soon transmutes into an up-tempo trio number with a flavour of Chick Corea's Iberian influence clearly detectable. The more contemplative "Redshift" benefits from Francis' ability to transition seamlessly from acoustic to electric piano and also to deftly change the composition's mood with great skill and judgment. There's also an articulate bass guitar solo from Trevor Boxall.
An infectious toe-tapping tempo and freewheeling acoustic piano predominate on "Sabo" and the close-knit interplay of the band is evident, again featuring an imaginative bass solo from Boxall. The jazz rock of "Trunk" opens up a whole new dimension with the vital guitar work of guest soloist Stefanos Tsourelis. The luxury of a quartet configuration places the band on a different footing, one part Return To Forever and one part Headhunters, replete with wah wah bass guitar, Fender Rhodes and fuzzy electric guitar tearing out the melody.
The set closes with the title track, in a ruminative state once more, Francis perhaps displaying a nod towards the great Bill Evans. Here she employs both synth and piano, overlaying one on the other, with an excellent bluesy piano solo. This is a very good, confident and satisfying debut album by a clearly talented musicianwho wrote and arranged all the tracks -from whom there should be much more to come.
Hops ‘n’ Scotch; Winnebago; Redshift; Sabo; Trunk; The Absent
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