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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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The Poet's Embrace

Haven Music/Warner Jazz
PRO 17384



1. Realisation
2. Universal Man
3. Ancestral Dance
4. The Poet's Embrace
5. Eboness
6. Consequence
7. Offering

Nathan Haines - Tenor sax
Kevin Field - Piano
Alain Koetsier - Drums
Thomas Botting - Bass


Nathan Haines is a saxophonist from New Zealand who has been involved in various kinds of music, including drum and bass, house, and broken beat (whatever that is). He has worked with a variety of artists, including soul singer Marlena Shaw, pop group Jamiroquai and drummer Billy Cobham. But this album is an attempt to return to the recording methods of the fifties and sixties, using analogue equipment.

When I first listened to this album, I was intrigued by Nathan's smooth tone on the tenor sax - reminiscent of Charles Lloyd - but thought that his playing suggested a weak technique, because he is very sparing with the notes. I was more impressed by pianist Kevin Field, who contributes some thoughtful solos. But when I listened to the CD again, it struck me that Nathan's minimalistic approach might have been deliberate. As the album continued, Haines' playing seemed increasingly like that of John Coltrane playing ballads, using an economical approach. Offering even has echoes of Coltrane's Naima. This realisation made me enjoy the album more, although its short time span (just over 40 minutes) seemed rather stingy.

The general mood of the album is low-key, although Ancestral Dance and Consequence are up-tempo pieces, with strong drumming from Alain Koetsier. This is not a great album but it may grow on you if you stick with it.

Tony Augarde

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