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Friday, November 6, 2009

Splinters - Split The Difference (Reel Recordings, 2009) ****

This is without a doubt one of the best surprises of the year, almost fourty years after it was performed, this wonderful first performance of "Splinters" sees the light of day, and it is a great recording, with a sound quality that is sufficiently good to enjoy every second of the two long tracks. The septet consists of Tubby Hayes on tenor sax and flute, Kenny Wheeler on trumpet and flugelhorn, Trevor Watts on alto saxophone, Stan Trace on piano, Jeff Clyne on bass, and John Stevens and Phil Seamen on drums, in sum some of Brittain's best known modern jazz musicians in their early years.

The two improvised pieces are based on a boppish drive that with the double drums gets a powerful forward propulsion over which the horns play together and alternately, over and above and through each other, without wildness, or without screaming exuberance, somewhat hesitatingly breaking out of the boundaries, resulting in an interesting combination of theme-less free bop and free jazz. The audience is quite enthusiastic at moments, and talkative at others.

A great journey back in time, for music that has aged wonderfully well, and how nice to be able to hear this performance.

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© stef