Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

John McDonough (reviewing Bright Red Dog’s In Vivo): “When you improvise on nothing, that’s what you get”. - DownBeat August 2021

The Things They Say!

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

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.

Postage

13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Album review: Alex Western-King - Sideslip

Alex Western King (tenor sax); James Copus (trumpet); Sam Leak (piano); Jonny Wickham (bass); Jay Davis (drums).

This is an album of two personalities. One is a bop balladeer from the ‘50s and the other is much more modern and challenging giving a suggestion of where Western-King might go on his next album.

The first two tracks exemplify this dichotomy; Make Way is relaxed with laid back piano and sax solos whilst Disorder Reordered does what it says on the tin. The latter has a disjointed, angular opening from bass and drums with Leak providing ‘Monk-ish’ interjections from somewhere behind them. The sax doesn’t come in until near the end as Western-King squalls over heavy riffing. This is lively stuff.

Dark Space starts as more Sunday morning music, though it is redeemed by a sax solo that builds towards plaintive wailings at the end that draws the listener in. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Inner Eye has a lovely ‘Bill Evans-y’ piano solo which leads into a duet with the bass. At the end of that passage I expected to hear polite night club applause and was almost surprised it wasn’t there, the tune is that well-mannered.

The title track opens like a hard bop reading of Well You Never and is built off Wickham’s rolling and tumbling, stabbing drums. Whilst he only solos, briefly, towards the end of the track his is the dominant force throughout. Copus adds some energy and attack on trumpet and provides a foil for Western-King, the two of them provide the highlights of the albums solos, sounding like a modernised Blakey front line.

The closer, The Long Road could have come from the soundtrack of a ‘50s noir thriller, especially one that featured a night-time car chase through twisting, mountainous country roads or a chase through dark alleys with the bad guy, the hero and a percussive pianist in hot pursuit of each other. Western-King lets himself go on a disrupted, fractured solo, surfing on the nose of a precarious rhythm section wave that feels like it could all come tumbling down at any second if it weren’t for the listener willing him on. Both Jay Davis on the drums Alex W-K, himself, are on top of their game, revelling in the space left as the others drop out.

Listeners hearing this album without having the sleeve notes to hand may suspect that it was recorded on two separate occasions with two sets of backing musicians which is not the case. So, there you have it; Alex Western-Kings ballad album and his progressive jazz album on one disc. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next.

Mention should be made of the cover which shows Western-King in various poses in a concrete underpass wearing his dad’s old parka and looking as cheerful as a UK Eurovision entrant after all the points have been awarded. Ubuntu haven’t really provided the best covers for many of their albums but this one is poor, even by their standards.

Sideslip is released on June 25 and will be available through the usual outlets.

Alex’s website can be found HERE. Dave Sayer

No comments :

Blog Archive