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Monday, April 02, 2018

CD Review: Alcyona Mick & Tori Freestone - Criss Cross

Alcyona Mick (piano); Tori Freestone (tenor, soprano, flute); Brigitte Beraha (vocals (tracks 1 & 8)
(Review by Steve H)
Alcyona Mick and Tori Freestone had been friends for years performing together in various outfits including the London Jazz Orchestra, but it was in 2015 they came together at the behest of the Manchester Jazz Festival’s artistic director Steve Mead. 2018 sees the launch of the pair’s debut album Criss Cross.
Beginning with one of two tracks featuring vocalist Brigitte Beraha, Hermetica gets the album off to a flying start as the wordless singing is complemented perfectly by the bird-like flute of Freestone and the punchy piano of Mick.  Charmed Life, a ‘Monkish’ style ballad, features Freestone at her most lyrical.
Strange Behaviour is again another ‘Monkish’ type piece as Mick emulates the master with great panache. Exchange is an up-tempo number as soprano and piano interplay with great touch and lightness. Goodnight Computer the longest track on the album takes us on a riveting almost classical journey as piano and tenor interweave keeping one interested throughout. 
Mrs PC is a highly enjoyable and jaunty acknowledgment to its male predecessor.  The title track, and Monk tune, Criss Cross, does great justice to the delightful composition. Beraha joins the duo again for an atmospheric interpretation of a traditional folk song Press Gang.
The album, which is completed with a bonus track El Barranco, is delightfully packaged with the track listing given in the form of cryptic crossword clues - luckily the answers are also displayed. See if you can work out this one - 6 Across: A female police constable who won’t speak her mind. To sum up, Nial I fasten (anag.)  A fine listen.
Steve H.

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