Jon Butcher (saxophones), Phil Durrant (violin) and John Russell (guitar) are a free-jazz or improvisational power trio of sorts. The Scenic Route is the latest from this daring and adventurous group as tracks 1-4 were recorded live in France and track 5 recorded live in London.
The opener, “Heavy Merge” commences as if three scientists were meticulously crafting an intricate Swiss watch. On this piece the musicians enact clever and cunning dialogue in workmanlike fashion. The delicate transformation of unusual sounds from common unaltered instruments seems astonishing. On “Belayed”, further evidence of how these gentlemen coalesce as a band is heard through unorthodox thematic development and off-center interplay which at times is odd and surreal. The liners indicate...”All instruments used without amplification or other electronics”. The tour-de-force is the 22-minute piece titled, “Climate Change”. Here, Russell and Durrant pluck their stringed instruments in mechanistic fashion utilizing all registers while churning out generous doses of harmonics. The feel is purposely tense or expresses uneasiness. John Butcher’s amazing Soprano & Tenor Sax work is the glue yet provides the contrast as Russell and Durrant offset Butcher’s often circular or in many instances abrupt phraseology.
The Scenic Route epitomizes the ceaseless creative spirit and artistic invention or perhaps “reinvention” of the British Free Jazz movement. Here, three proven masters of modern music take the listener on a mystical yet brisk expedition, complete with all the peaks and valleys. Highly Recommended! * * * *
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.