Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist Billy Bottle is the pianist for renowned big band leader Mike Westbrook and has performed with British progressive rock luminaries. His octet and guest artists incorporate jazz rock and folk with a splash of Indie pop on this beguiling set. It's outlined on eminent American author and transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau's poems, also providing the lyrical content for these vigorous and unequivocally hip compositions.
The band spins an inspiring outlook with solid backbeats, wistful horns and odes to the beloved British Canterbury prog rock scene. As some of the tender moments summon notions of whispering pines and gusty breezes through a forest; although, they dish out several rousing arrangements, enamored with memorable choruses from the fine vocalist and violinist, Martine Waltier. In addition, many of the horns passages mimic pastoral settings, and are occasionally offset by the musicians' playful theatrics amid dabs of avant-like experimentation here and there. In true jazz fashion, the artists delve into potent improvisational segments. And on "Outward Morning," the octet ignites a journey comprised of a stately ostinato groove, followed by contrapuntal maneuvers and plush vistas. Bottle and associates execute a polytonal milieu, where elegance, adventurism and brawny solo spots attain a synchronous mode of attack.
"Fog" is constructed with faint electronics effects, haunting keys-based loops and shaded with a trace of echo that spawns great depth on this multifaceted oeuvre, casting notions of self- reckoning that may parallel Thoreau's writings and seclusion at Walden Pond. Indeed, Bottle's vision is consummated with stimulating content and a magnetic form factor that instills an immensely entertaining vibe.
Track Listing: Within The Circuit Of This Plodding Life; Winter Memories; The Vessel:
Inward Morning; O Nature; Outward Morning; Fog; Mere Smoke Of Opinion;
Men Say They Know Many Things.
Personnel: Billy Bottle: voice, grand piano, electric piano, Hammond organ, bass
guitar; Martine Waltier: voice, violin; Roz Harding: alto saxophone,
soprano saxophone. Vivien Goodwin-Darke: flute; Angus Menter:
Mike Outram: bass guitar; Gary Evans: drums; Lee Fletcher: digital
editing, virtual pipe organ, virtual guitar, soundscapes, treatments,
additional arrangements; Kate Westbrook: voice (3, 8); Jay Darlington:
organ (3, 8); Markus Reuter: touch guitar (6).
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.