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Album Review

Slowly Rolling Camera: Where the Streets Lead

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Slowly Rolling Camera: Where the Streets Lead
Slowly Rolling Camera is a jazz ensemble. Its core is pianist-composer Dave Stapleton, producer Deri Roberts, vocalist-lyricist Dionne Bennett, and drummer Elliot Bennett. Their newest album Where the Streets Lead is a follow-up to their acclaimed album, Juniper (Edition Records, 2018). The album presents eight tracks with a large ensemble, including an 8-piece string section and a list of world-class guests including Mark Lockheart, Jasper Høiby, Verneri Pohjola, Chris Potter, and Sachal Vasandani, as well as the band's regular guitarist Stuart McCallum.

The music is a mix of jazz, trip-hop, and cinematic landscapes. Opening with the shifting composition "You Are the Truth," Slowly Rolling Camera develop a modern jazz sound that is deep in groove and expansive in texture. The string section augment the harmonic colors and fullness. With a strong melody and big groove, the composition has many surprising phrases which result in an expansive emotional experience. McCallum's playing is texturally exciting and flows between the various sound surfaces. Bennett's swirling poly-rhythms support Stapleton's solo, and have elements of trip-hop with a deep foundation in modern jazz. With the added ensemble members, the core group of Stapleton, Roberts, and Bennett have a new evolution and journey to their music, both individually and as a collective.

"The Afternoon of Human Life" has the ever-imaginative sound of Potter's saxophone. With Potter, the music takes on a superior dimension, and the funk groove and slow-moving harmonic structure offer fertile ground for him to dig in and express himself freely. The composition has a balance, and the piece flows with a sense of purpose and identity. The elements of electronic dance music are a modern touch and bring boldness to the music. After a brief interlude, McCallum's guitar builds its solo statement back to the melody. The orchestrated strings skillfully weave together with the keyboard to create a resonant crescendo and release to the cadence.

Where the Streets Lead is a beautiful collection of compositions, and performers that communicate the joy of collaboration and communication through an audio-sensory landscape. Slowly Rolling Camera are successful in their vision and add a new boldness to their music with the larger ensemble. The attention to detail gives the project a natural progression and development, as the ensemble explores the many possibilities these compositions offer.

Track Listing

You Are the Truth; Where the Streets Lead; Lost Orbits; The Afternoon of Human Life; Widest Possible Aperture; Illuminate; Feels Like Fiction; A Force for Good.

Personnel

Slowly Rolling Camera: band/orchestra; Dave Stapleton: piano; Elliot Bennett: drums; Deri Roberts: synthesizer.

Additional Instrumentation

Mark Lockheart: soprano and tenor saxophones; Stuart McCallum: guitar; Jasper Høiby: double bass; Verneri Pohjola: trumpet; Jon Visanji: violin; Jenni Curiel violin; James Toll: violin; Victoria Stapleton: violin; Linda Kidwell: viola; Rob Tuson: viola; Phil Daish-Handy: cello; Lionel Handy: cello; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone (4); Sachal Vasandani: vocals (6).

Album information

Title: Where the Streets Lead | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Edition Records

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