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Thursday, September 26, 2013

CD Review: Blue Touch Paper - Drawing Breath.

Colin Towns (keys); Chris Montague (gtrs); Edward Maclean (bs); Benny Greb (dms); Stephan Maass (perc/electronics); Mark Lockheart (ten/sop).
(Review by Lance).
I'm not certain if this is a giant piss* take or the greatest jazz record of the past 12 months! Upon reflection probably somewhere in between.
All the compositions are by Towns. As the blurb says, "His CV is a staggering list of achievements including the soundtrack for the tv series Doc Martin. The good doctor isn't represented on these tracks - at least for the sake of his patients I hope he isn't!
This is one of those records you can love or hate in equal measures although, I'm pleased to say I go along mainly with the former sentiment. There is the occasional "pet shop moment" but not enough to mar an otherwise compelling disc. In many ways it reminds me of the kick I got when I first heard Westbrook's Release or some of Mingus' more outré outings. It has the same cheeky disrespect for authority whilst maintaining the essential sound of surprise. The genres intermingle in a quirky and yet effective sort of way with the soloists going with the flow and sometimes off on a tangent but always coming back to port although not necessarily the harbour they set off from. 
The soloists are brilliantly infused in this magnificent madness. The charts make Kenton's City of Glass seem like Moonlight Serenade. Fair is Foul, from Macbeth (W. Shakespeare) has an ethereal witches choir sharing the blasted heath with Lockheart's soprano - oh brave heart!
Watch Out begin's with a Cream-like riff booted along by Greb's drums. The title track is a plaintive, compulsive wail that has Gateshead lad Montague taking a rocky road to, seemingly, Armageddon and maybe jumping a few traffic lights on the way before cooling off and going for a pizza - it's what you do in Gateshead.
Could this be my "Road to Damascus?" Well I sure ain't going to Damascus tomorrow but. metaphorically speaking let's say I'm but a slingshot away.
It took two years in the making and more than 60 demo tracks but for this listener it was well worth the hubble, bubble, toil and trouble.
*Giant piss take? After several listenings, definitely not - love it.
The Cd  Blue Touch Paper - Drawing Breath. will be released on Oct. 14 on Provocateur Records
Lance.

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