1. The Peak of Time
2. The Jaunt
3. Depth of Field
4. Night Light
5. How So?
6. The Return
7. Vincent's Dream
8. The Tribute
Pete Oxley – Electric, acoustic, slide and
Julian Nicholas – Tenor sax, soprano sax,
Phil Peskett – Piano, keyboards
Oli Hayhurst – Acoustic and electric basses
Russ Morgan – Drums, percussion
third album from Pete Oxley's group, Curious
Paradise, continues to evoke comparisons with
Pat Metheny's bands. This is understandable,
since a track like Depth of Field not
only has echoes of the Metheny guitar sound
but Phil Peskett's keyboards recall the style
of Lyle Mays when he plays with Metheny. However,
the most important Metheny resemblance is
that both bands specialise in melody – something
that often takes second or third place in
jazz musicians' priorities. Pete Oxley composed
all the tunes on this album and he is not
afraid to write gorgeous melodies. Some listeners
may find them almost sentimental in their
richness but I love them – just as I love
the Metheny groups at their most tuneful.
quintet, Curious Paradise, has plenty of the
talent necessary to create beautiful music.
Julian Nicholas is equally enticing on tenor
sax, soprano sax and bass clarinet, while
Phil Peskett draws some lovely sounds from
the keyboards in his solos. Savour his thoughtful
piano at the start of Vincent's Dream.
Oxley himself, playing a variety of guitars,
adds to the richness of the aural mix: sounding
like a violin on How So? and a sitar
on The Return.
his website, Pete Oxley says that his father
used to listen to such composers as Vaughan
Williams and Elgar. I may be wrong, but I
suspect that some of the characteristically
English feeling in their music may have influenced
Pete. The adjective "pastoral" has been applied
to Curious Paradise and the band's music certainly
has the fresh, airy atmosphere of wide-open
landscapes. The opening track, The Peak
of Time, seems to float along effortlessly,
while Night Light has the placidity
of a Vaughan Williams piece.
fact the music on this album seems to draw
on all kinds of influences – from jazz fusion
to progressive rock. But the influences cohere
into a convincing whole – a vision which Pete
Oxley shares with us, for our pleasure.