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Sunday, December 07, 2014

CD Review: Jim Rattigan/Thomas Gould/Liam Noble - Triplicity

Jim Rattigan (French Horn); Thomas Gould (violin); Liam Noble (piano).
(Review by Lance).
I took one look at the press release for this disc and relegated it to the pending tray. I mean to say, French horn, violin and piano - what will they be trying to palm off on us next as jazz? Then, in a weak moment, I said to myself, "WTF I'll give it a spin - nothing else in the pending tray appeals and, with Liam Noble on piano, it can't be all bad.
Truth is - it's all very good!

Rattigan, gets a great sound, almost like a valve trombone but cooler, drier. As emotive as all but the most laid back flugel player this to me is a revelation! Why haven't there been more jazz improvising French hornists? Admittedly the nature of a rotary valve instrument precludes, I would guess, the dazzling flights of fantasy favoured by trumpet players. This isn't a drawback or a hindrance - quite the contrary - it enables the player to choose notes and phrases carefully without covering up a paucity of ideas with bravura flashes of technique.
With players like Rattigan around, the French Horn could soon no longer be just a "Miscellaneous Instrument" but one worthy of a category of it's own.
Violin too was once a "Misc. Inst." Grappelli, Luc Ponty and others moved it out of the doldrums and ensured the instrument had its own distinctive identity in jazz circles. Gould carries on the tradition of his musical forebears - and he can swing too - even if his tone could be fuller, the ideas are there. Horn and fiddle combine brilliantly both in the ensembles and in their challenging solos. Complementing and contradicting each other in the finest musical terms.
This is a jazz record but it is also damn close to being a contemporary classical work too - genres? Who needs them?!
I haven't mentioned Liam Noble - my middle name is Remiss! - Without bass and drums, Noble is the link between the genres. The harmonic foundation he lays down beneath the other two ensures the fluidity of the music and, of course, it goes without saying his solos are no less than what we'd expect from one of the UK's top keyboard men!.
Why haven't I been listening to this non-stop since it was released? Change my middle name from Remiss to Procrastinator.
It's quite wonderful..
Lance.

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