reveals in the sleeve notes that the inspiration for this collection was the fear that our world had reached a tipping point "where an increasingly globalised economic system powered by unscrupulous profit orientated multinational corporations is on the verge of collapse." It's a plea for a new, fairer, world where wealth is not concentrated in the hands of a self-appointed, entitled, elite who dictate societal outcomes without contributing their share through, among other things, taxation.
So it is quite possible that the simple, repetitive, riff over a militaristic drum beat on opening track "Age of Austerity" is intended as a comment on our beloved politicians, tax dodging CEOs and parasitical financial services 'glitterati.' Either way it's a riff that lodges itself firmly in the brain, emerging from the sub conscious later at unexpected momentslike the economic cycle, it seems to re-assert itself throughout the piece just as all seems to have collapsed. At the risk of over- stretching the metaphor, the playing is economical and on point throughout as befits the title. The pattern of the improvised sections seems to be that the musicians breakthrough to improvise in pairs, initially through the horns of George Crowley
and Chris Williams
but later alternating with Pereira's guitar.
Pereira plays wonderfully on the title track toohis solo is controlled and thoughtful, with an appealing hint of roughness and distortion in the tone. He is arguably mixed a little low compared to the horns which tend to dominate the attention, but the benefit of this is that his contributions tend to emerge progressively the more familiar you become with the music. The track "Bohm's Hologram" plays with the idea that every part of a hologram contains all of the information possessed by the wholeso, very broadly, if applied to our wider reality the means by which society divides us (class, race, gender, profession etc) are artificial and the cause of humanity's problems. Musically it feels a little reminiscent of say Pete Christlieb
with late 1970s Steely Dan, surely no bad thing, and has a subtly melodic theme that is another highlight of a strong collection.
Even where Pereira needs something more abrasive, as on the guitar growl he adds to "Empire of Lies," you sense that he is mindful of the impact his contribution will have on the listener. Ultimately the track emerges as a flamboyant stomp through double standards on human rights and democracy before giving way to the gentle ballad "Under the Pillow" where Pereira adds some well-judged phased accents a little like Ben Monder
on his excellent "Amorphae" album. If the quality dips a little on "Miranda" it still leaves over an hour of slick, tight, modern jazz of the highest quality.
This is a great, melodic and intelligent album that Vitor Pereira and his band should be proud of that points to the vitality of the current UK scene. The band are from the top tier of that vibrant scene, many with substantial CVs as leaders in their own right. Pereira's thoughtful approach to the world that we live in is never at the expense of the listening experience, so those whose politics are not aligned with his humanist vision need not be concerned. Highly recommended, even to self- entitled tax dodging parasites.
Age Of Austerity; New World; Bohm's Hologram; Empire Of Lies; Under The Pillow;
Gangsters Undercover; Miranda; Simple Disguise; Surfing Mini Waves.
Vitor Pereira: guitar; George Crowley: tenor saxophone; Chris Williams: alto
saxophone; Andrea Di Biase: bass; Dave Hamblett: drums.