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Andre Canniere: The Darkening Blue

Roger Farbey By

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Five of the ten numbers here are songs with lyrics, four of which are translations of poems by Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke and one is written by Monique Canniere, whose words were inspired by American author Charles Bukowski's "Bluebird."

The pastoral solo piano opening to "Autumn Day" belies the strong entrance by the whole sextet including Brigitte Beraha's vibrant vocals and Andre Canniere's strident trumpet, also heard again to good effect on the swinging "Going Blind" again benefitting from Beraha's exquisitely limpid vocal delivery. On "Bluebird" Beraha's crystalline voice evokes the essence of British jazz diva Norma Winstone.

The first instrumental track "Splash," is a lively outing for the quintet, with Canniere leading the solos, closely followed by Tori Freestone on tenor whilst all the while Michael Janisch's rich double bass maintains the momentum. Two thirds of the way into "Area Of Pause" the song dramatically changes gear, from a reflective mood, accelerating into an fast-paced foot-tapping excursion driven by Ivo Neame's keyboard and a keen rhythm section.

The wistful "Concession" is a perfect canvas for both Canniere and Neame, heard here on acoustic piano, whilst the fuzzy menacing of "Hug The Dark" combines with the horns to produce a memorably enticing head and follows with searching trumpet over echoey electronics, resolving into the unison ensemble once again. Beraha's near-whispered vocals dominate the ballad-like first half of "Evening" which transmutes into a frenetic collective improvisation in its middle section, concluding with an ensemble finale and a satisfying return to the original opening melody.

"Lament" sees Ivo Neame double-tracked on piano and evocative accordion, all neatly juxtaposed with Beraha's yearning vocals. Ted Poor meticulously measures out an irregular beat on the languorous closer "Sunflower (for Emelie)," whilst Canniere's pellucid trumpet delivers a lustrous solo.

Following Pennsylvania-raised, London-based Andre Canniere's first two albums Forward Space (2012) and Coalescence (2014), this is a fine example of a stellar line-up achieving a remarkable amalgam of depth, warmth and sensitivity.

Track Listing: Autumn Day; Going Blind; Bluebird; Splash; Area of Pause; Concession; Hug the Dark; Evening; Lament; Sunflower (for Emelie).

Personnel: Andre Canniere: trumpet; Brigitte Beraha: voice; Tori Freestone: tenor saxophone; Ivo Neame: piano, keyboards, accordion; Michael Janisch: electric & double bass; Ted Poor: drums.

Title: The Darkening Blue | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd

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