STYLE: Jazz RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 150694-21972 LABEL: Mulberry Tree Music MULTRE1301 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Following up their acclaimed 2010 'Passion Suite' album was never going to be an easy task but Hertfordshire-based jazz quartet the Kairos Ensemble have undoubtedly succeeded with a captivating release that draws upon the group's live but previously unrecorded repertoire from the last decade. Wholly instrumental and unadorned by guest artists, this album sees the foursome in their natural habitat and gives each member a chance to evidence their own virtuosity as well as showcasing their supreme collective harmony. For instance, Dan Foster (sax) and Peter James (keyboards) riff off each other intuitively in the rolling homage to pianist Abdullah Ibrahim "African Skies" whilst drummer Tom Hooper takes centre stage in the appropriately-titled "Mr Tom". Elsewhere, versatile tuba player Richard Fox takes on the role of the traditional double bass player with aplomb before pulling off some stunning and hilarious soloing during "In Step" and proving his worth as a writer - like his colleagues Foster and James - in the joyful "Dad's Happygail". Impressively, a wide range of styles are on show here from the Cuban-tinged opener "Curiosity" to a reading of the traditional folk tune "The Water Is Wide" which, together with the title track's bebop-cum-classical leanings and the smooth jazz of the tender "First Signs", further signal this band's inherent adaptability. Thought out subject matters undergird the likes of the poignant "Lost Property" - an ode to Fox's late brother - and the band reference topics such as religious persecution in "Underground (For The Saints)" and the joy of walking with God in the aforementioned "In Step" to add meat to the bone of this already brilliant and unmissable release.
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