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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 love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.