Ah now! Here’s some fun to be had. Bristol-based saxophonist Kevin Figes has Mike Outram on guitar, Dan Moore on Fender Rhodes and Daisy Palmer on drums.
Although there are two chordal instruments here, the overall feel is very much of single-note ones interacting, and leaving lots of lovely space in the process. Figes (favouring the E-flat saxophones) and Outram often share the melody lines and head riffs, while Moore acts a lot of the time like an almost subliminal bassist. Palmer keeps the drums rock and funk-based.
Evel Minx has all the sense of menace that name suggests, especially when Outram winds it up in rock god mode. Name Of The Game has Figes again on baritone (his best instrument, I think) and his gritty tone provides a perfect contrast to the prettiness of the melody (imagine Tom Waits singing a sunny pop song).
The band can get all impressionist – they do just that on Reflection – or electric Milesian – Rising – while September has that classic English jazz feel about its melody line and general lyrical mood.
The Bear really does work up a fine head of steam, with Figes soloing over a great guitar riff. And then, the rhythm gives way to a calm middle section, before Outram really winds it up again with sustain and a full-on jazz-rock flow. Dark and light, ebb and flow, tension and release – it’s all here. Plus more good riffs and melodies in one track than many bands can muster in a whole session.
The Grind is the closer and it has all that old Sidewinder soul-jazz feel.
What is striking throughout is how sparing all the players are with what they play. Less is more for all of them, and one is left with the distinct impression that they have played all the essential notes and ignored the rest. The other interesting thing is how original and easily identifiable this band is. They really have found a new direction in jazz.
Damn fine stuff.
Categories: CD review