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



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THE PAUL EDIS SEXTET

Mr Hipster

Edis music (self-released)

 

 

  1. The Timothys

  2. Mr Hipster

  3. Eastern

  4. Serial for Breakfast

  5. Knight Errant

  6. Ah Um

  7. Dorian Grey

  8. Missing You

  9. Better Than A Punch In The Face

  10. Lost in Translation

  11. Vignette


Paul Edis - Piano

Graham Hardy - Trumpet

Chris Hibbard - Trombone

Graeme Wilson - Saxophones

Mick Shoulder - Bass

Adam Sinclair - Drums


Paul Edis is one of the most highly regarded jazz musicians in the North East of England and deserves to be better known far beyond his native hearth. Like many of the UK's finest younger performers, Paul has a classical hinterland too. This in no way inhibits his jazz sensibility, however. He has an instinctive feel for the nuances of jazz piano and reflects the riches of the tradition in his playing. Added to this, he is an imaginative composer as listeners will discover in the course of the disc. The well-received debut album of his sextet, There Will Be Time , was released in 2012.

I've heard this particular group live in concert on a couple of occasions playing, for the most part, material drawn from this album. While recordings can rarely compete with the joy of live performance, this disc proves to be an absolute pleasure. Edis's fellow musicians are clearly comfortable with one another and are of considerable and varied experience. Trumpet player Graham Hardy, for instance, among his other commitments, fronts an eight-piece New Orleans Brass Band, as well as being a consummate modernist.

One of the outstanding features of this CD is the capacity of the group to embody different styles. I was reminded of the small group West Coast jazz of my youth on the title track yet elsewhere, on Lost In Translation for example, there is a distinct East Coast/Blue Note vibe. At other moments, there are echoes of the Birth of the Cool era. I was particularly taken by Eastern, an atmospheric ballad with a strong melody featuring a stylish, flowing contribution from Edis on piano. Graeme Wilson, on Getz-like tenor sax, is in mellow form. The final track is the beautiful waltz-time Vignette (Edis's classical talents are evident in this composition). There is a superb muted trumpet solo from Hardy and a further gem of improvisation from Wilson. Wilson can also be heard on baritone sax, rich and expressive, onLost In Translation. Mick Shoulder on bass is conspicuously good, especially on the poignant Missing You, as well as on Better Than A Punch In The Face, a more upbeat piece with some (dare I say, muscular?) licks from the versatile Graham Hardy. The latter track evokes the moment in the politician John Prescott's career when he famously refused to turn the other cheek.

Adam Sinclair, on drums, is a stylish presence throughout. He deserves credit also for an excellent job on the technical production side where, we are told, he recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered! Chris Hibbard, on trombone, is heard to especially good effect on The Timothys, Mr Hipster and Ah Um. The whole disc is informed by a quirky humour. Sample, for instance, Knight Errant where the ingenious theme conjures up Don Quixote, Miles Davis' (and Gil Evans') Sketches of Spain, flamenco and, briefly, a nod in the direction of the spaghetti western. The 'out of left-field' flavour extends to the cover art, and the pen pictures of the musicians contained in the liner notes.

This is relaxing, inventive jazz of a high order. Edis as composer, arranger and pianist is up there with the best of British. The more I listen to this album, the more satisfying I find it. I warmly recommend it.

James Poore



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