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Thursday, November 03, 2016

CD Review: Jonathan Silk – Fragment

(Review by Russell)
Drummer Jonathan Silk’s new album on Stoney Lane Recordings features no fewer than thirty three musicians conducted by fellow drummer Andrew Bain. Thirteen of them are string players augmenting something approximating a conventional big band line-up. The strings are heard first on Introduction with tracks two and three gradually introducing one or two soloists from the jazz ensemble - first featured soloist Percy Pursglove, flugelhorn then Rob Cope, baritone, followed by other unnamed soloists from within the sections. A recording on this scale is an ambitious undertaking – both musically and financially – and Fragment succeeds magnificently.

Jonathan Silk leads from the front on the title track. A dynamic composition, several solo spots – including Andy Bunting, piano and Thomas Seminar Ford, guitar – are framed by cracking section work from all concerned. Silk’s broad palette has perhaps been coloured by mentors Vince Mendoza and Maria Schneider. Fool’s Paradise hears the multi-layers of high-octane NYC Monday night outfits yet the composer asserts his right to apply the brakes, signal a (flugel) change of direction before releasing the hand brake once more.

All compositions are by Jonathan Silk. The drummer’s writing avoids the possibility of a ‘jazz and strings’ mish mash; strings are given breathing space, the horn players are given plenty of space to play the jazz. Recorded in January 2016, Silk acknowledges a range of funders (including the BBC Performing Arts Fund) in the making of Fragment. A case of money well spent.                           
Russell.
Andrew Bain (conductor), Percy Pursglove (flugelhorn), Mike Fletcher (alto saxophone, flute), Chris Maddock (alto saxophone), John Fleming (tenor saxophone), Joe Wright (tenor saxophone), Rob Cope (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet); trumpet & flugelhorn: Tom Walsh, Reuben Fowler, Mike Adlington, Matt Gough; trombone: Kieran Mcleod, Richard Foote, Yusuf Narcin; Andy Johnson (tuba), Thomas Seminar Ford (guitar), Andy Bunting (piano, Nord), Toby Boalch (piano, Nord), Nick Jurd (double bass, electric bass), Jonathan Silk (drums), Tom Chapman (percussion); + violin: Emily Tyrrell (leader), Katrina Davies, Sarah Farmer, Ning-Ning Li, Beth Bellis, Kathryn Coleman, Zhivko Georgiev, Pei Ann Yeoh; viola: Victoria Strudwick, Eileen Smith; cello: Lucy French, Katy Nagle; double bass: Ayse Osman 


Fragment by Jonathan Silk is released on Friday 4th November on Stoney Lane Records (#SLR1977)      

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