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

Elton Dean and The Wrong Object

The Unbelievable Truth






Seven For Lee
Millennium Jumble
Baker’s Treat
A Cannery Catastrophe
The Unbelievable Truth
Cunnimingus Redux
The Basho Variations

Elton Dean (saxello, alto sax)
Laurent Delchambre (drums & percussion)
Fred Delplancq (tenor sax)
Michel Delville (guitar, voice)
Jean-Paul Estiévenart (trumpet)
Damien Polard (bass)

Recorded live at Glaz’Art, Paris, October 2005


Elton Dean, ex Soft Machine, died in February 2006. Four months earlier, still playing with resilience and brilliance, he recorded a set with The Wrong Object in Paris. They’d never worked together before, though the band had independently rehearsed some of Dean’s charts and Dean, in his turn, had independently worked on some of the band’s – mainly the work of Michel Delville.

There’s plenty variety in the sixty-eight minutes that constitute The Unbelievable Truth. Dean’s Seven for Lee finds the altoist spinning constant, endless patterns over the band’s tightly knit rhythm section – in which guitarist Delville has been well mixed into the balance. Trumpeter Jean-Paul Estiévenart plays with punchy, full toned bravura. There are strong echoes of Dean’s Jazz-Rock days in Millennium Jumble where the funky guitar distortion has c.1968 written all over it. Still the groove is powerful though it’s possibly the least successful track. By contrast Dean’s work on his own punning composition Baker’s Treat is a tour de force of fluency and nasally lyrical lines, as they skim the surface of the rhythm section’s propulsive wash. Maybe there’s some Eastern, perhaps Arabic influence in the title track – though Miles Davis’s influence on Estiévenart is palpable here and the funk bass and Jazz Rock guitar tell their own stories.

There’s a Soft Machine workout on A Cannery Catastrophe and the rather smart aleckly titled Cunnimingus Redux – more Mingus than Cunni and not much Redux – thins to single, spare, sparse lines rather attractively. It makes a change from some of the relentlessness elsewhere.

Dean plays with tremendous versatility throughout, whether one appreciates his tonal qualities or not. The arrangements are spirited, and there’s great density and depth to the sound. There are crisp front line passages, some intriguing guitar fills, funky bass lines and powerful percussive statements. As a Dean envoi it could scarcely be bettered.

Jonathan Woolf


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