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Bebop Spoken There

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Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

CD Review: Scopes

Ben Van Gelder (alto sax); Tony Tixier (piano); Tom Berkmann (bass); Mathias Ruppnig (drums)
(Review by Lance).

Dutch, French, German, Austrian - four musicians well steeped in the sound that typifies contemporary European jazz. The music floats rather than swings and the mood is ethereal. Avant-garde, maybe, but without the excess of atonality that the term often evokes and the RSPCA can sleep easily - no pet shops have gone up in flames. All four musicians are absolutely top-notch players gelling like the signature dish of a pre-Brexit continental deli.

The prose of the puffery supplied is worthy of a Birdlike bard or maybe a bardlike Bird:
Echo of Their Own Prejudices: "Portamento synth lines. Ravel-like harmonies which ended up in a quite different place, reminding him [Berkmann] of US sculptor John Chamberlain's transformative automobile scrap metal art". We also have, "A fertile under-sea world of serenity"; "Analogous swan-like atmospheres".

Great words but, whilst my bathing suit never got wet, and I didn't see any swans - well you don't in an automobile scrapyard - I did, by ignoring the imagery, find this a most enjoyable and satisfying CD. Van Gelder is the Paul Desmond/Art Pepper of today. Tixier one of the most sympathetic players around, both as a soloist or comping. Berkmann is Herr Bassman and Ruppnig lays it all down "Providing percussively busy undercurrents as synth auras glide over..."

I must apologise for drawing upon so much from the blurb but,  if I could write shit like that, I'd be editor of DownBeat!
Nevertheless, nice one - Whirlwind WR4736.
Lance.

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