Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

189

Spring Heel Jack: The Sweetness of the Water

By

Sign in to view read count
After two successful group improv albums—one with American avant gardists and the other with their British counterparts—and a brilliant live album uniting the two, Spring Heel Jack offers creative music fans The Sweetness of the Water, the group's fourth on Matthew Shipp’s eclectic Blue Series imprint at Thirsty Ear.

The latest release from IDM-cum-free jazz duo Spring Heel Jack brings esteemed trumpeter and vanguard composer Wadada Leo Smith to the mix, along with reedsman and longtime Spring Heel collaborator Evan Parker, fellow Brit John Edwards on bass, and drummer Mark Sanders.

The Sweetness of the Water is a strong offering from John Coxon and Ashley Wales (the masterminds behind Spring Heel Jack), with a more intimate, live feel than the group’s previous electro-heavy efforts. This intimacy is no doubt a product of the group’s exciting trips out of the studio and on the road for a UK tour in 2003.

Parker returns to the Spring Heel mix after contributing to the pair's records since 2000, with his bellowing, screaming sax juxtaposed perfectly by Smith’s Miles-ish trumpet. Smith, hands down one of the most under-recognized voices in jazz’s last thirty years, is rightfully showcased to the fullest extent on Sweetness.

With its gospelized, droning organ and Parker’s testified cries, “Lata” seems ripped from J. Spaceman’s Spiritualized songbook—no wonder that Mr. Spaceman is a friend and collaborator to the Spring Heel lot. This selection is followed by “Duo,” a doodling drum and guitar duet that signifies why this album just isn’t for everyone.

Over an eerie and echoing piano line, Parker and Smith engage in beautiful dialogue on “Track One”—at times they’re screaming at one another, at other times gently whispering, interjecting or offering guidance to each other's improvisational explorations. This tune is simply wonderful, emphasizing that under-recognized adjective attributed to Mr. Smith above.

While not SHJ's best work on the Blue Series (that would be 2000’s Masses ), The Sweetness of the Water is no less exciting or provocative. This electro-acoustic jazz offering should please most fans of creative improvisation but leave the followers of Matthew Shipp’s funk-friendly free jazz looking for somewhere else to jam.

Track Listing: Track Four; Quintet; Lata; Duo; Track One; Inlet; Track Two; Autumn

Personnel: John Coxon

Title: The Sweetness Of The Water | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "Samba Para a Vida" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Para a Vida
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four" CD/LP/Track Review B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Hanukkah" CD/LP/Track Review Hanukkah
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Converging Tributaries" CD/LP/Track Review Converging Tributaries
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Horizons" CD/LP/Track Review Horizons
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "The Way Home" CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017