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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

CD Review: Sam Crockatt Quartet – Mells Bells









Sam Crockatt (tenor saxophone), Kit Downes (piano), Oli Hayhurst (double bass) & James Maddren (drums)
(Review by Russell).
Recorded and mixed in London during 2014 and mastered in New York in autumn 2015,  Sam Crockatt’s Mells Bells is about to hit the racks. Eight tracks composed by tenor man Crockatt, this new recording features the London Loop Collective man and three first call new generation musicians. The CD is a Whirlwind Recordings project and the label name is invariably a guarantee of quality.
The opening tracks – Canon and The Masterplan – are straight ahead swinging affairs. It is refreshing to hear a gifted quartet get down to business with a minimum of fuss. Leader Crockatt encourages Kit Downes to play and the pianist does just that, swinging hard and with real verve. The wonderfully titled I Found You in the Jam hears Crockatt’s wrought, shackled tenor searching, seeking to break free but ultimately restrained ahead of the title track Mells Bells during which all hell breaks loose. Blame it on James Maddren! A man known for unfailing good taste, brushes at the ready, here he kicks off, something clearly upset him! Crockatt squares up and the ensuing six minutes and thirty one seconds leave none standing.
Breath is an apposite follow up as a collective breath is taken. A Stroll on the Knoll picks up pace once again until the recording’s closing tunes – Tiny Steps, Top of the Mountain                 (initially a return to a more reflective group dynamic) and The Land that Time Forgot go out on a contemporary, swinging high.
Sam Crockatt has an album launch at the Soho, London Pizza Express on February 2nd. Further dates follow across southern England. Sam Crockatt Quartet Mells Bells CD is released on January 29th on Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings Ltd (WR4681).
Russell.             

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