THE SONG IS YOU
This music shouts “real!”, from the leaping vibrancy of the analogue sound, to “period” jazz being played with such conviction as to be completely authentic in the moment you listen, rather than being a facsimile of something past. Snappy drummer Andrew Dickeson assembled saxophonist Nick Hempton (alto/tenor), guitarist Carl Dewhurst and bassist Ashley Turner to help freshen up nine standards, and they more than succeed. There are two Monk tunes, Dickeson intending to give Trinkle Trinkle an Ornette Coleman treatment (and they certainly direct-inject an undeniable vitality), while he swaps Ugly Beauty from its usual 3/4 time back to Monk’s original 4/4, to striking effect.
Moonlight in Vermont has its inherent yearning thickened with gentle mallets, a subtle Latin groove and an airy statement of the head from Hempton. A particular pleasure throughout is hearing the melodic ingenuity of Dewhurst’s improvising, given he’s so often heard playing in contexts where shimmering soundscapes are more the norm than tunes that just want to swing like hell. Another pleasure is hearing Bernie McGann’s timeless Spirit Song being rightfully inaugurated into the standard repertoire.