Light At Night
(Whirlwind Recordings WR4631)
Drummer Dave Hamblett, a Royal Academy graduate, is exceedingly talented and he leads an exceedingly talented sextet: Ivo Neame on piano (is there any fine British band he isn’t in?), Calum Gourlay on bass, Alex Munk on guitar and the two saxophonists are Josh Arcoleo and Joe Wright.
We’re straight into the knotty stuff with Dark Sky (there are a lot of light/dark references in the tune titles) with a tricky guitar melody and some lovely, rich harmonies from the two tenors.
While complex time changes and intricate rhythms are to be expected from a drummer-composer, so too, we have come to learn, are pretty melodies, and so it is here.
Zoom Part 1 has a very fine tenor solo which I think is by Arcoleo, though I can’t be sure (in the old days albums featuring two of the same instruments would have left channel/right channel indications on the cover, or at least notes of order of solos). And it is great to hear Neame on Fender Rhodes.
There is a certain timeless quality about some of the writing, which in places reminds me of the kind of thing Joe Locke would do. It’s modern without being spiky – muscular might be the description. It’s also pretty evocative – conjuring up pictures and atmospheres, especially in The Park.
The title track, which closes the album, has a jumpy overlapping melody head, and then relaxes the rhythm into a really easy-rolling traveller – all forward motion and effortless pace. Nice drum solo here against atmospheric guitar sounds.
A very strong debut. Is there no end to the fine and alarmingly mature musicians the British jazz academies and conservatoires are producing?
The Dave Hamblett Group has been touring through February in support of this release, and there are still gigs at The Vortex in London, the Sela Bar in Leeds and theThe Amersham Arms in London to come.
For more on these dates and all things Dave, go to www.davehamblett.com