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Monday, March 31, 2014

Double LP Review: Nat Birchell Quintet - Live in Larissa... Divine Harmony in Duende Jazz Bar.

Nat Birchall (ten/sop/bells.perc); Adam Fairhall (pno); Corey Mwamba (vbs/bells); Nick Blakka (bs); Paul Hessian (dms).
(Review by Lance)
Although my review copies were on CD this interesting double album is available only on vinyl or Download.
Recorded live in the Duende Jazz Bar, Larissa, Greece, Birchall took this decision after listening to the tapes. His conclusion was that the music really suited the warmth of vinyl although I've no complaints about the CD sound.
Those familiar with the musicians, and one sometimes gets the impression that Corey Mwamba is a Tynesider such are his frequent visits to the region, will know that this isn't going to be a stroll in the park. Infinite variety are the core words here. Tenderness and romance midst multi-coloured textures sooth the savaged breast and whilst the temperature in the pet shop reaches extremes during the freer moments I don't think the inmates were burnt, maybe just a little singed. In other words, it's contemporary but accessible.
Birchall excels on both tenor and soprano. John Coltrane, from Clifford Jordan's Glass Bead Games album takes up all of side one and the tenor playing is indeed very Tranelike. Solos all round with Mwamba, Fairhall, Blakka and Hessian all stretching out.
Alice Coltrane's Journey in Satchidananda is the opener to the second album and here Birchall achieves an almost clarinet-like fluency as he takes lines inspired by Pharoah Sanders on the original Alice Coltrane recording. Listen too to Fairhall on piano logically taking Birchall's solo in his own direction before handing the baton to Blakka on bass. After the bassist's melodic interlude it's back to Birchall for a fade out finish.
World Without Form is from Birchall's previous studio album of the same name. In fact several of the tracks on this live recording were also on the studio recording. I haven't heard the earlier recording so I'm unable to compare but if it is anything like this one then maybe a coin will have to be spun. Alternatively spin several coins and buy both albums.
Nat Birchall Quintet - Live in Larissa... Divine Harmony in Duende Jazz Bar is available from April 28 on Sound Soul and Spirit Records NB 003 (Distribution by Kudos).
Lance.

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