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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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String Theory




1. Dreams so real [7:08]; 2. Song for Carla [7:02]; 3. Over the hills and far away [5:28]; 4. Love is real [6:51]; 5. You've changed [6:47]; 6. Greetings to Idris [5:08]; 7. The Lark [7:05]; 8. Bye Ya [4:44]; 9. Partial eclipse [5:55]

Jim Mullen Reunion Quartet
Jim Mullen (guitar), Gareth Williams (piano), Mick Hutton (bass), Gary Husband (drums)
rec. at Underhill Studios, London, UK on 19 December, 2011.
Recording engineer: Simon Wallace, Mix Engineer: Pete North [56:31]


It was during their previous incarnation (1996-2000) that the Jim Mullen Quartet recorded "Burns", the disc that Jim recalls as being his most successful ever so when bassist Mick Hutton caught Jim at a gig they did together recently and suggested they got together again Jim readily agreed and this disc is the result. I'm hoping they record some more as the reunion gives a new generation of jazz lovers the opportunity to experience this great little quartet. The thing that is most readily obvious is Jim's signature mellow tone that is due as much as anything to the fact that he spurns a plectrum using his thumb instead so you don't get that rather thinner more clinical sound that many other guitarists have. This album is a joy from start to finish with a nice mix of tunes from a wide range of composers from Thelonius Monk (Bye Ya) to John Lennon (Love is real) as well as a nice rendition of the traditional tune Over the hills and far away. Jim gives other members of the quartet ample opportunity to show their abilities and I especially liked Gareth Williams' spot in Song for Carla. This is a disc that you feel even those who normally think they don't like jazz would be able to enjoy and there are few enough of those. Virtuosic yet intimate this disc has all the right ingredients for a highly pleasurable hour's listening. The last time I saw Jim play was a number of years ago now when he was over at club local to me and was the guest of my cousin Mike Carr's band and if you enjoy this disc as much as I did and would like to hear more of Jim then I recommend a duo with Mike (playing piano as he did when he first started in the early 1960s). That disc That's Entertainment - Jazz at Greville Lodge Vol.2 is available on Cube-Metier records MUCD21047 .

Steve Arloff

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