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Sunday, July 06, 2014

CD Review: Tommy Andrews Quintet – The Crux

Tommy Andrews (alto/clt); Nick Costley-White (gtr); Rick Simpson (pno); Dave Manington (bs); Dave Hamblett (dms).
(Review by Steve H.)
This debut  album from  up and  coming reeds player Tommy Andrews is a fine effort. Andrews, whose interests outside music are particle physics and rock climbing, incorporates these twin  themes into many of his compositions.  I haven’t met the guy but he comes over as a cross between Professor Brian Cox, Chris Bonnington and the late Patrick Moore.

The album begins gently as we are lulled into Sirens.  The focal point of this piece is a fine piano solo from Rick Simpson. Andrews himself leads off both my favourite and the title track The Crux which is dedicated to Higgs Boson pioneer Peter Higgs. A core theme runs throughout featuring both guitar and piano solos, while a  rousing mid section really sets the tone for the remainder of the song as the whole ensemble  led by Andrews on sax really gives us some particle acceleration.  A gentle bass intro heralds the melancholic Crystal Car  before another strong sax solo takes over. Mr Skinny Legs refers to the name given to spiders by Andrews’ 3 year old nephew; this tune again builds nicely around its recurring theme. L.H.B doesn’t refer to Left Hand Bat as I thought but to Late Heavy Bombardment which is a term used to describe the period in history when a large number of asteroids collided with various planets. The piece begins quietly before culminating in  the astronomical manner of the title. Toscana (Sirens Pt II)  is a haunting rolling piece with again piano and sax at its core. Steep provides a fitting up-tempo finale leaving the listener pleasantly satisfied with the entire album.
Tommy Andrews Quintet – The Crux is currently available on JellymouldJazz Records
Steve H.

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