132

Harry Miller's Isipingo: Which Way Now

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Harry Miller's Isipingo: Which Way Now Cuneiform has unearthed another gem from the '70s British jazz scene in Which Way Now. Bassist Harry Miller was one of the staples of that era, and on this performance from November of 1975, he shows just why. The band here was the original lineup of Isipingo, and while there is a structure to the music, the door to each player's perspective is left wide open. That is the way Miller preferred to write, placing no holds on improvisation. The result is an energetic, eloquent and exciting experience.

Miller plays the bass with a thick sound, giving it a broad dimension while pegging it deep in the beat. And no matter which way the others took his music, he could get all the ideas to coalesce in his solo turns. Any of the four tracks here can testify to that. On "Family Affair, he sets a rapid pulse with drummer Louis Moholo. Later, he shapes the proceedings by playing on the melody, using stop time signatures, and stretching out with a supple grace. Mike Osborne (alto sax) has the first say and he lays the ground work, his liquid tone slip sliding its way into interesting alleyways. Pianist Keith Tippett takes it all out, his left hand anchoring the adventures of his right as he extends the parameters of the melody in a tide of ripples, cascades and swirling tempo.

"Which Way Now is a bright spark of a tune with Osborne bopping out, fleshing the theme with short notes that leap with abandon as he gradually pushes onward. Nick Evans picks up his taut line, bringing in deeper shades on his trombone. Evans however, does not stay in the same terrain, adopting a lighter flex and thus a captivating whole. The other horn man, Mongezi Feza, lets loose a slew of notes and then elongates and curls them, his trumpet interjections creating a tantalising portrait. The rhythm section edges the front line, Miller with a walking bass line and Moholo with cymbal accents.

This is an outstanding recording and a welcome document of a great band.


Track Listing: Family Affair; Children At Play; Eli's Song; Which Way Now.

Personnel: Nick Evans: trombone; Mongezi Feza: trumpet; Harry Miller: bass; Louis Moholo: drums; Mike Osborne: alto saxophone; Keith Tippett: piano.

Title: Which Way Now | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Hoping Against Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hoping Against Hope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "Trio Miami" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Miami
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Two Calls" CD/LP/Track Review Two Calls
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Heritage" CD/LP/Track Review Heritage
by James Nadal
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 19, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.