Thursday, October 1, 2009

Aida Severo (Slam, 2008) ****½

Unknown to me, this young British free jazz band brings a remarkably mature and highly enjoyable record. Led by Philip Somervell on piano, the band consists of Chris Williams on alto saxophone, Joe Egan on trumpet, Colin Somervell on double bass, and Vasilis Sarikis on drums. The music is built around themes that sound like 60s free jazz, think Ayler or even Coleman, but the music also has this typical European or even British free improv sound, with the major difference that Philip Somervell's piano-playing often acts as a soothening factor, like cream in soup, or a softening factor to counterbalance the once in a while sharp edges. This mix between composed and free moments works very well, both within the tracks, but it is also mirrored in the CD's structure, with long pieces alternated with shorter totally free improvisations. And it must be said: the compositions themselves are great and will be appreciated by the more mainstream lovers, while the free-er parts can really go wild. An interesting blend, full of power, intensity and lyricism. Great band. Great music. Highly enjoyable.

On a side-note : the nice art work gives a good representation of the black and white contrasts used in the music, as well as the combination of the abstract and the figurative.

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© stef