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Bebop Spoken There

Adam O'Farrill: "Right now in my life, I don't see music as the be-all and end-all." - (DownBeat November 2020).

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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

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12,176 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1315 of them this year alone and, so far, 18 this month (Dec. 5).

Remembering ...

Roland Kirk died on Dec. 5, 1977.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Album review: Jim Rattigan - When

Jim Rattigan (French horn); Nicki Iles (piano); Michael Janisch (bass) James Maddren (drums) + The Tear Quartet - Julian Tear, Alison Gordon (violins); Nicholas Barr (viola); Nicholas Cooper (cello).

The French horn, despite its lovely dry sound has rarely been a jazz voice since the days of John Graas out on the West Coast back in the 1950s. Possibly it's because of the instrument's lack of tonal variants compared to other brass instruments - French horn players please put me right if I'm wrong - its forté seems to be purity of sound of which Rattigan demonstrates most admirably.

Like almost all French horn players he has a classical background which hasn't done him any harm since he succumbed to the call of jazz. His sound is pure and his solos are as lyrical as any valve trombonists which, I suppose is the nearest area for comparision. With this album he decided to combine his two passions using the string quartet as a link.

The string arrangements are beautifully voiced reminiscent of some of the writing behind Sinatra in his Columbia days. Having Nikki Iles on piano is an added bonus, her delicate touch ensures the continuity of the ambiance that exudes throughout - I fall in love with her every time I hear her play!

I don't fall in love with Michael Janisch although I do like him and I love his playing it is just so right for this music. On the beat or laid back you get the impression that no other note or run would do, his solos, an extension of the string quartet. James Maddren is content to stay out of sight doing just enough to keep the ship on a steady course.

Rattigan composed and arranged all of the music on the album 5 years ago and then allowed them to gather dust. Paradoxically, the title When (no question mark!) would probably be even more appropriate now if it had a question mark!

It's not a party record - well it is if there are only two people at the party in which case it's up there with the Wee Small Hours albums! If jazz, like classical music, ever has a Romantic Era then Rattigan will be up there alongside Freddy Choppin, as I remember an AFN disc jockey once describing a jazzed up version of a piece by Chopin! 

Not for the socially distanced...

Lance

YouTube.

Available on Dec. 4 on Three Worlds Records TWR005.

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