The Princess of Co. Down
Song without words
It was himself
Dan Forshaw (soprano and tenor sax)
Jonathan Geyevu (piano)
Matt Hunt (bass)
J Hoy (drums)
rec. Chapel of LST, Green Lane, Northwood,
London, no date given.
This is a self-produced CD
with no label, no catalogue number and the
most basic of covers. However, it would be
a mistake to let small details such as this
detract from the music, which is cool, clever
and creative. The majority of the tracks are
original compositions, with one or two more
traditional - in the classical sense - numbers
thrown in making for a good variety of styles.
The disc gets off to a vibrant
jazzy start in Cahoot – good foot-tapping
stuff with real drive and a strong bass line.
The piano takes star billing and the saxophone
sounds a little distant – microphone placing
issues perhaps. The remainder of the tracks
take on a more experimental dimension. Indeed,
the sleeve-notes outline the fact that the
disc was ‘…recorded without any significant
rehearsal or road testing…’ which is evident
particularly in The Princess of
Co Down. It is a long and rather tedious
meander of modern unconnected extemporisation
that tempted me to flick on to the next track.
Whilst it is a good example of free jazz –
instruments acting very independently, working
off each other as they go along – and a great
thing to do, I’m not sure it’s ideal for a
Song without words
is a slow ballad based on the tune by Mendelssohn
which half way through pauses to make way
for an extended and very fine saxophone cadenza
before the others join in to wrap things up.
Another slow track follows: My Ship,
which conjures up a lovely sense of a gloomy
smoky jazz bar.
After a fairly abstract start,
Another Land breaks into a lovely walking
bass stroll half way through which the pianist
(and composer of the track) Jonathan Geyevu
is allowed to go off on a wonderful detour
encompassing the full range of the keyboard,
before reverting to material from the beginning.
It was himself (another
Forshaw creation) brings us back to a style
similar to that of the opening track – energetic
jazz full of vim and vigour. It showcases
impressive virtuosic solos for all instruments
and for me is the highlight of the whole disc.
In Coventry Carol, I find the timbre
of the soprano sax a little squawky in places
for my taste, and I wonder whether the more
mellow tones of the tenor sax would be more
appropriate for such a mellow tune.
Just as I was about to conclude
my first impressions of the disc, I discovered
a ‘bonus track’ which, once it got going,
was a better way to finish up the disc than
the previous number. With a gentle swinging
feel, it was a nice change to have a short,
succinct track that wasn’t trying to be too
showy or adventurous. The fade to nothing
was an especially nice touch. On the whole
a most enjoyable disc.