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Lee Jones Ė Swish.

Lee Jones (guitar and keyboards).





Lee Jones - Swish

1. Swish
2. Majik
3. One Little Blue Note
4. Cookin' On Gas
5. Retrospective
6. Halfway House
7. Dorian Diversion
8. Out Of The Day
9. Swish (Jam Mix)

Lee Jones (guitar and keyboards), Pete Parkinson (saxes and flute), Ben Thomas (trumpet), Alex Steele (keyboards), Frazer Snell and Mark Smith (electric bass), Zoltan Dekany (double bass), Chris Dagley (drums)

rec. Planet Zog studios, Hertfordshire


Lee Jones was born in 1984 and has already picked up a Jazz FM "Best New Instrumentalist of the Year" award. Iím not sure if heís still currently studying for his Bmus. Jazz degree at the Birmingham Conservatoire but this disc certainly sounds like post-graduate work to me, however much I may personally dislike the style.

And the style is fusion, a meld of George Benson, Larry Carlton, maybe some Pat Metheny as well. Itís effortlessly fluent and malleable and establishes a firm groove from the outset. Swish is the title track and it returns, rather like the Aria of the Goldberg Variations, at the end of the disc but this time as a jam mix Ė a device Bach unaccountably overlooked in his immortal masterpiece. It opens with a funky shake down with tightly muted trumpet (Ben Thomas) and some take-off guitar work. In Majik one finds some nicely lyric saxophone from Pete Parkinson, equally fine piano from Alex Steele and tight sectional work from the rhythm section. One Little Blue Note is the expected hard bop homage whereas weíre pitched straight back into the funkier shores of fusion with the next track, Cookiní on Gas.

The shifting metres and colours of the rhythm section are at their best in something like Retrospective where they support the appealing sax lines. Parkinson also enlarges the range of colours of the band with his flute work on Halfway House. Thereís a good, long guitar solo from the leader on Dorian Diversion, an academic sounding title for an otherwise over-long tune. Lee Jonesís best playing is reserved for Out of the Day, a delightful song made more so by virtue of his articulate single string and chordal work. Itís the kind of playing in which he comes closest to the lyric playing of, say, Martin Taylor.

Still, Lee Jones has clearly found a niche early in his career and has a powerfully strong technical basis on which to expand. Too many of these cuts are too alike, despite the variety of instrumentation and rhythm that Jones has introduced. But the disc as a whole is, Iím sure, a harbinger of even better things to come.

Jonathan Woolf



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