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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Black Box BBM1001



Simon Haram : soprano & alto saxophones

Scott Mitchell : piano

Recorded 1995


1. On Fire

2. In A Hall Of Mirrors

3. Coltrane


4. Caprice

5. Chanson Sans Paroles

6. Danse Macabre

7. Interference

8. Backings

This is modern classical music - the listener should not be fooled by such titles as "Coltrane" - obviously the spirit of the great performer was invoked through this composition but the feeling is still of a " straight " player paying homage to the Jazz idiom. As a matter of interest, this piece is performed on the soprano, rather than the alto saxophone, as stated.

Simon Haram is quite obviously a highly proficient contemporary saxophone player, but I can hear little of the freedom and spontaneity of Jazz in his style. He has a very fluent and facile technique, but his sound is somewhat cold and clinical in its execution. This is typical of the legit school of playing and many listeners might find this attractive. To my ears it lacks the essential warmth of which the saxophone is capable. My other complaint in terms of sound is that there is rather too much added presence or reverb to the recording - it all sounds rather as if it were recorded in a bathroom.

The music itself is pleasant without presenting any great challenge to the listener. The odd glissando is rather too obvious and one has the impression that certain effects are a little too contrived to be convincing. Perhaps this is a case of trying to compose and perform in a style that is not entirely comfortable and therefore going for the effect rather than the substance. This is not a disc I would wish to listen to on a regular basis although I would not deny the high level of musicianship both in performance and composition.

Dick Stafford


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