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



Trianglehead


TRIANGLEHEAD

Exit Strategy

Trianglehead Music THEADCD 002

 

 


1. Eschaton
2. Entomology
3. Hardball
4. Pet Accessory
5. Hieronymus Part 1
6. Hieronymus Part 2
7. Quarantine
8. The Gan
9. Exit Strategy
10. Hitch Hiking Ghosts
11. Epstein Reject
Martin Kershaw – Alto sax, soprano sax
Paul Harrison – Keyboards, electronics
Stu Ritchie – Drums, percussion
Graeme Stephen – Guitar (tracks 2-4)

Many years ago, long before you were born, best beloved, there lived a band called Back Door. It was a British trio with an unusual line-up: saxophones, guitar and drums. They made a few albums in the 1970s but broke up after a few years. I still remember the excitement I felt at seeing them in concert, with the two virtuosic front men – saxophonist Ron Aspery and guitarist Colin Hodgkinson - backed forcefully by drummer Tony Hicks. Their music was a dynamic mix of jazz, rock and the blues, notable for its energy and drive. If you see any of their albums on sale anywhere, snap them up.

Why do I mention Back Door? Because the first time I heard a track from this Trianglehead disc, I was struck by the similarity between the two bands: both unconventional trios producing extremely energetic music with evident virtuosity. Certainly that's the impression one gets from some tracks on this album – like the title-track, which is the one I heard on BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line-Up, immediately attracting me by its dynamism.

Sadly, not all the tracks on the CD are like this: there are lots of excursions into free jazz, which sometimes works but equally often results merely in anarchic noise. Entomology and Hardball are both built upon continuous riffs which soon become irritating. Pet Accessory at least has a repeated melodic fragment breaking up the chaos. And slower numbers like the two parts of Hieronymus have an effectively moody ambience. But overall there is too much self-indulgence.

Perhaps the comparison with Back Door is misplaced, as the whole album makes Trianglehead sound closer to The Bad Plus than the more structured Back Door. Trianglehead's album is still interesting but I wish the trio would remember that freedom is often most effective when balanced by some form of organisation or structure.

Tony Augarde

 

 

 

 



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