Spring 2020 has produced two notable albums from British guitarists. In April we had Rob Luft's exquisite Life Is The Dancer (Edition). In May we have Chris Montague's own-name debut, Warmer Than Blood. Like Luft, Montague writes engaging tunes and both albums are engagingly melodic; Montague's arrangements, however, are more open-ended, giving the music a collective vibe.
Montague has recorded extensively since the late 2000s, notably with Troyka and Slowly Rolling Camera. His Troyka colleague Kit Downes joins him here, in a trio with everybody's favourite electric bassist, Ruth Goller. Goller adds useful grit to Montague and Downes' lyrical focus. Her c.v., though varied, includes a singularly intense and ferocious strand. She emerged on the London scene around 2007 as a member of Pete Wareham's high decibel, so called "punk jazz" band Acoustic Ladyland and has followed that trajectory through to jazz quartet Let Spin, whose Steal The Light (Efpi) is another spring 2020 landmark.
Some of the appeal of Warmer Than Blood lies in Montague's toplines. But at least as much comes from the improvisatory focus of the arrangements and the use the players make of the freedoms these offer. Goller leans towards the foundational, usefully so in a drummerless band, while Montague and Downes are more investigative. Downes' percussive use of the piano cabinet offers an enjoyable side dish.
Irish Handcuffs (Introduction); Irish Handcuffs; Warmer Than Blood; FTM; C Squad; Not My Usual Type; The Internet; Moira; Rendered.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.