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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke


GEOFF EALES

Mountains of fire
Geoff Eales - Piano
On tracks 1-5, 7, 8, 10,11,13
Roy Babbington - Bass
Mike Smith - Drums
Tracks 6,9,12,
Nigel Hitchcock - Alto Sax
Laurence Cottle - Bass Guitar
Ian Thomas - Drums
BLACKBOX CD BBJ1006
Crotchet
 £11.99 Amazon UK £12.99 Amazon US $16.97

1. Here There and Everywhere
2. Like Someone in Love
3. Autumn Leaves
4. Young and Foolish
5. Falling in Love Again
6. Blues for Shirl
7. You Must Believe in Spring
8. Have You Met Miss Jones?
9. I Fall in Love too Easily
10. Stella by Starlight
11.A Child is Born
12. Mountains of Fire
13. Some Other Time

On first reading the titles on this disc one could be led to expect another 'middle of the road' re-hashing of standard tunes with a couple of originals thrown in for good measure. Far from it, this disc contains a varied and contemporary series of readings of a choice selection of tunes.

Geoff Eales is an accomplished professional musician as his list of credits indicate - his work as a pianist includes playing for artists ranging from Nelson Riddle and Henry Mancini through to Kiri Te Kanawa, and Lesley Garrett And Jose Carreras.

With such a background it is quite a shock to realise what a consumate and powerful jazz player he is. He has obviously been influenced by many of the 'greats' of the post war period.

I can hear very strong echoes of Monk and McCoy Tyner. His style is varied both in touch and intensity of voicing.

'Here There and Everywhere' is a real swinger which begins with a delightful rephrasing of the melody. Eales is not averse to dropping in the odd quote such as 'Beautiful Dreamer' in 'Like someone in Love.'

Autumn Leaves has a wonderful 'Tynerish' intro and is a very refreshing version of an old chestnut.

I greatly enjoyed the two Eales originals [Blues for Shirl and the title track]. 'Mountains of Fire' is a 'Breckerish' theme and features some two fisted pianistics.

Whilst appreciating the appearance of Nigel Hitchcack on three tracks [including the originals] I would have rather the disc stuck to the Trio format for a sense of continuity. Hitchcock plays well throughout in a contemporary style with a sense of legato and tone reminiscent of Ernie Watts.

Thad Jones' 'A Child is Born' has always been a favourite, and this is a version I will continue to listen to as I will 'Some other Time' which is beautiful in its simplicity.

The other performers give excellent support throughout. I would strongly recommend this disc. Perhaps next time we could have a trio recording and a quartet recording.

Dick Stafford

Dick Stafford is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.



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