CD review: Dice Factory

diceDice Factory
(Babel) 

A fine and lively example of exploratory contemporary British jazz from four players, three of whom have strong connections with other bands, including Empirical, Outhouse, Ma and Kairos 4tet.

The band’s name suggests dice-throwing and influences the way they compose, heading off in different directions depending on chance moves.

None of that really matters to the listener, though, who hear sometimes jumpy, sometimes gentler moods from saxophonist Tom Challenger, pianist George Fogel, double bassist Tom Farmer and drummer Jon Scott.

Scott can bring sense to any rhythm, no matter how lop-sided it might be, and Farmer is tightly in tune with him. Fogel and Challenger are strong improvisers, although this band is much more about group interaction and ensemble playing than pushing any individual into the spotlight for too long.

The opener is a compelling jumpy thing which contains a phrase from Milestones that lodges in the ear and gives the new listener a kind of hand-hold while they take the roller coaster of the nearly eight-minute ride.

Gooch is quirky, full of odd timing and odd timbres at the beginning which develops into the kind of musing piece that few drummers other than Scott could accent. You’re Lucky gives both Fogel and Challenger more improvisational space in the conventional contemporary jazz style, on a tune that is more a rhythmic phrase than anything, and eventually develops into a swirling, circling vortex with saxophone and piano in accord.

Dice Factory won’t calm you on a Sunday morning; it will invigorate you and get you moving. Lovely cover art.



Categories: CD review

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