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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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STEVE WATERMAN

Our Delight – A Jazz Odyssey

Mainstem MSTCD 0041

 

 

 
1. Proem: Ahoy Troy
2. Lady Bird: Here’s Lookin’ at You Penelope
3. Maiden Voyage: Farewell Mentor
4. Beware Chameleons Bearing Watermelons
5. Speak Like a Child Hermes
6. Good Bait: Lotus Eaters Only
7. Sirens Chasing a Butterfly
8. If You Could See Me Now Homer
9. Our Delight Calypso
10. Soultrane
11. Dolphin Dance
12. Boppin’ on Canteloupe Island
13. Vein Melter Cyclops!
14. A Blue Time
15. The Homecoming: A Jazz Coda
Steve Waterman – Trumpet, flugelhorn
Martin Shaw - Trumpet, flugelhorn
Mark Nightingale - Trombone
Dave O’Higgins – Tenor sax, soprano sax
Andy Panayi - Baritone sax, tenor sax
Gareth Williams - Piano
Alec Dankworth - Bass
Clark Tracey - Drums
Frank Ricotti – Vibraphone, percussion
Frank Holder – Vocals, percussion

Some young jazz musicians might be accused of being ignorant of jazz tradition, but this certainly doesn’t apply to Steve Waterman. His awareness and appreciation of his jazz predecessors has already found fruit in an album devoted to the music of Benny Golson and Wayne Shorter. Now comes this CD paying tribute to Tadd Dameron and Herbie Hancock. And apparently there’s a third album due for release next year, dedicated to Gerry Mulligan and Chick Corea.

Steve Waterman uses a variety of permutations of ten musicians to perform tunes written by Dameron and Hancock. But he turns the performances into a journey through various events in the classical story of Odysseus – hence the subtitle "A Jazz Odyssey". So, for example, Tadd Dameron’s Lady Bird has the added title of Here’s Lookin’ at You Penelope, referring to Odysseus’s wife (this track has some particularly powerful baritone sax from Andy Panayi). Herbie Hancock’s Vein Melter is employed as the basis for three tracks (numbers 1 and 15 book-ending the album, and track 13 referring to the one-eyed Cyclops).

Don’t be too distracted by the concept. The main appeal of this album lies in Steve Waterman’s imaginative arrangements and their playing by a team of top-class British musicians, who also contribute some fine solos. Steve opens the album with searing trumpet, and also features strongly on Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage.

The title-track (a Dameron composition) has more fireworks from Waterman, who simply duets with bassist Alec Dankworth on Soultrane. Canteloupe Island is unexpectedly played at a fast up-tempo, with refreshing vibes from Frank Ricotti. Mark Nightingale’s trombone is commanding in track 4 (a version of Watermelon Man), while Tadd Dameron’s Good Bait is given a tight West-Coastish arrangement.

The recording quality is excellent and this is altogether an enterprising album, performed with skill as well as respect for the composers it celebrates.


Tony Augarde

 



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