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Sunday, July 28, 2013

CD Review: Phil Meadows Group - Engines of Creation

Phil Meadows (alto & soprano saxophones), Laura Jurd (trumpet), Elliot Galvin (piano & Fender Rhodes), Conor Chaplin (double bass & electric bass) & Simon Roth (drums)
(Review by Russell)
The pedigree is impeccable. Phil Meadows, First Class Honours from Leeds College of Music, postgraduate studies at Trinity Laban and having occupied the lead alto chair in NYJO, the Lancastrian has, to date, worked with some of the biggest names on the scene including John Dankworth, Cleo Laine, Tim Garland and Jason Yarde. Engines of Creation marks the saxophonist’s debut CD release as bandleader and composer.
An assembly of immensely talented contemporaries feature across seven tunes; Elliott Galvin’s pivotal keyboards, trumpeter Laura Jurd’s apposite contributions, drummer Simon Roth’s musicality, Conor Chaplin’s command of upright and electric bass.
Fin opens with Meadows’ startling alto, double bass features and Roth’s clattering drums point to the tune’s inspiration – Beats and Pieces drummer Finlay Panter. Elements of the English folk tradition permeate Moving On, co-existing with the sounds of the twenty first century Leeds inprov scene. Runner, perhaps the stand out track on the CD, runs and runs; Jurd’s trumpet runs down Roth’s voodoo rhythms, Elliot Galvin’s Fender Rhodes joins the pursuit, the referencing of electric Miles evident as Meadows’ raging alto takes as inspiration the animated antics of Tinsel Town’s Road Runner relocated to the eternally frustrating South Circular, London.
Flamingos opens with a deceptively measured statement only to be disturbed by gate-crashing Cecil Taylor pianism. The title track unfolds across a broad canvas revealing many hues drawn by Meadows, Jurd and Galvin. The Dragon of George recalls an encounter with a truculent barman in a local hostelry. Chaplin’s electric bass runs rings around him as Meadows’ goading alto vents its spleen. Meadows disclosed that the genesis of the closing number – Captain Kirk – evolved from the arcane world of the British jazz club. It features first rate understated playing from a highly talented group of ‘new generation’ British jazz musicians.
Engines of Creation is out now on Boom Better Records (BOOM 006).                
Russell.       




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