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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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PAUL TOWNDROW

Six by Six

Keywork KWRCD 008

 

 

 

 

 



1. Big Hitter
2. Earth Scene (Part I)
3. Dr Jones Will Never Believe This
4. Protective Memory
5. Rostov
6. Crook Sludge
7. Across The Universe
8. Earth Scene (Part II)
Paul Towndrow - Alto sax, soprano sax, flute
Tom MacNiven – Trumpet, flugelhorn
Konrad Wiszniewski - Tenor sax
Steve Hamilton - Piano
Alyn Cosker – Drums
Michael Janisch - Bass
 

According to Paul Towndrow’s sleeve-note, this album was recorded with the help of a borrowed generator in six hours during a power cut. But this band could generate enough power to keep the National Grid running for days. Towndrow is a young Scottish saxophonist whose previous album, Out of Town, consolidated his position as a dynamic and exciting musician. Paul wrote all but one of the tunes on this album. Most of his compositions aren’t the sort of thing you’ll whistle on your way to work: it’s the energy and commitment of his band that strikes you most.

The only non-original on the CD, the Beatles’ Across the Universe, is readily recognisable but played in a style that recalls the freedom of John Coltrane, with Paul’s saxophone swirling around, above an equally mobile backing provided by the rhythm section. Things calm down for Steve Hamilton’s lyrical piano solo. Steve’s playing on this album is one of its major attractions, as is the unstoppable drumming of the extraordinary Alyn Cosker.

Paul Towndrow admits to the influence of fellow Scots saxist Tommy Smith but Paul is seldom as laid-back as Tommy can be. With Alyn Cosker’s seemingly tireless drums keeping the temperature high, most tracks are extrovert and forceful. Protective Memory offers the one gentler moment with a ballad featuring Tom MacNiven’s poignant trumpet (or flugelhorn) and Michael Janisch’s expressive double bass. Crook Sludge is distinguished by its rhythm, which is the sort of thing you might hear from a New Orleans marching band (or even Wynton Marsalis’s representation of the same). This and Across the Universe are the most accessible tracks on the album, because of the familiar reference points. But every track captures the listener through daring and imagination.

Paul Towndrow is going to be big, and deservedly so. I have only a couple of suggestions for the next album. First, Paul might try smiling in the cover photo, as there’s surely no need to look so fierce. And secondly, please print the sleeve notes for the next album in a more readable form than brownish red on a black background!


Tony Augarde


 



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