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chris@chrishodgkins.co.uk

CHRIS HODGKINS TRIO

Future Continuous

BELL CD 512 [69:21]

 



Sweet William (A. Rayner) [4:07]
Full Count (C. Candoli) [3:24]
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (N. Sedaka) [3:14]
Grey Skies (E. Harvey) [3:23]
To Summer (K. Dyson) [3:50]
Marabastad (M. Mokone) [3:19]
Where’s Trog? (E. Harvey) [4:44]
My Heart Stood Still (Rogers and Hart) [2:50]
No Silence in the Lamb (H. Lowther) [3:23]
Here There And Everywhere (Lennon and McCartney) [2:26]
Funk Dumplin’s (S. Shihab) [4:05]
If Only (R. Sutherland) [3:03]
Phalanges (L. Bellson) [2:49]
Mezzrow / Mezz’s Tune (H. Lyttleton) [2:55]
If We Never Meet Again (H. Gerlach / L. Armstrong) [3:16]
Urban Cowboy (D. McLoughlin) [3:40]
Birk’s Works (D. Gillespie) [4:25]
Taking A Chance on Love (J. LaTouche, T. Fetter, V. Duke) [4:09]
Overture from Water Music (Telemann, arr. H. Lowther) [2:49]
Swinging At The Copper Beech (C. Hodgkins) [3:33]
Chris Hodgkins (trumpet)
Max Brittain (guitar)
Alison Rayner (bass)
Rec. 25-26 February, 2006, Dronken Lane Studios, Hertfordshire, England

Chris Hodgkins’s sterling work as director of Jazz Services Ltd. has perhaps distracted attention from his own considerable merits as a trumpeter. This CD should go a long way towards redressing the balance.

No listener to this CD could be left in any doubt as to the certainty of Hodgkins’s technique on his instrument; nor of the imagination and sensitivity of his playing; nor, indeed, could a listener be left in any doubt of his musical intelligence, evident both in the choice of a splendidly various programme and in the way his trumpet work functions as one of the elements in a wonderfully interactive intimacy with the other members of his trio. The whole thing is delightfully eclectic – here is a programme that ranges from Candoli (Conte) to Telemann (Georg Philipp), from Lennon and McCartney (John and Paul) to Shihab (Sahib) and from Sedaka (Neil) to Lyttleton (Humphrey).

Everything in the programme is played with subtlety and alertness. Hodgkins handles both open horn and variously muted trumpet with equal assurance and conviction. There are gorgeous tone colours, attractive melodic runs and some unexpected, but never disturbing, harmonic touches. As Digby Fairweather’s appreciative sleeve notes observe, one of the distinctive virtues of Hodgkins’s trio is their ability to work on a small canvas, to resist the temptations of improvisational garrulity, and to say what they have to say succinctly, aware, as it were, of the old advice to "leave them wanting more". The longest track here (‘Where’s Trog’) clocks in at 4:44 and Wally Fawkes wouldn’t have found anything to object to in its ‘length’. Most of the tracks come in well under four minutes (sometimes under three) and, in truth, only occasionally does one ‘want more’ – in most cases one feels that the statement has been perfectly made, the ideas have, although not exhausted, been presented with a concision which would make further expansion largely redundant.

The quality of Chris Hodgkins’s work is, of course, dependent on the support that he is given by the other two members of his trio. And how fortunate he is to receive that support from such fine musicians as Alison Rayner and Max Britain; both make telling contributions as soloists but, above all, are admirably sensitive and proactive accompanists.

Chris Hodgkins couldn’t reasonably be described as especially original or even, perhaps, as an exceptionally individual stylist on his instrument. Rather he is a cultured musician, educated in the idioms of the jazz trumpet and able to draw selectively from the history of the jazz trumpet for his own purposes – echoes of Ruby Braff or Roy Eldridge, early Miles Davis or of Armstrong himself, are part of a larger conversation with the traditional jazz language of his instrument. The result is seventy minutes of civilised, richly intelligent music, full both of echoes and inventions. The album title, perhaps, affirms the future of such a past? Warmly recommended.

Glyn Pursglove



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