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

Dan Forshaw Website

Language of Emotion

The Dan Forshaw Quartet





The Princess of Co. Down
Song without words
My Ship
Another Land
It was himself
Coventry Carol
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 recording.

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.

Max Kenworthy


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