The addition of guitarist Rob Updegraff to Twelves, the U.K. band that started as a trio in 2008, tenders a compact yet expandable group focusing largely centered on asymmetrical pulses, layered sound-sculpting, and toggling between the misty divisions of free jazz and free-bop. The guitarist and saxophonist Mark Hanslip act as searchers perched atop oscillating currents, these being predominately designed with gradually climaxing theme constructions and effective use of space. Complete with transient mini-motifs, the bulk of the material is based on improvisation.
"Shallow Brown" is a piece configured with a stabbing pulse. With the front line's fractured bop choruses and Tim Giles' sweeping drums, the ensemble cleverly adjusts the current via reflective attributes and by shifting the pitch gradient up a few notches. They pick up steam as the soloists engage in call and response mechanisms, modeled with a conversational mindset amid various flurries consisting of Updegraff's animated voicings and Hanslip's ascending lines. Although some of these works yield an overly uniform slant that imparts an unwavering set of circumstances when viewed as a whole, this piece stands as a highpoint for a quartet that conveys a promising outlook.
Personnel: Mark Hanslip: tenor saxophone; Rob Updegraff: guitar; Riaan Vosloo: bass; Tim Giles: drums.