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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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An Appropriate Response
Volume One

Broken Symmetries
Incorporated BSI 1001



  1. Bhavana

  2. An Appropriate Response

  3. Mr. Gotama's Dream

  4. Floating

  5. Letting Go

  6. Appamada

  7. Descending Stairs

  8. Begin Again

Brian Fielding - Piano

Mike Lee - Tenor sax

Andy McKee - Double Bass

Ali Jackson - Drums

Attorney and business executive Brian Fielding reveals through his performance on this recording that he is no slouch when it comes to jazz piano. He is joined on this CD by Ali Jackson, principal drummer with Jazz At The Lincoln Center and the bassist Andy McKee who has played alongside the likes of Don Cherry and Michel Petrucciani in earlier days as well as with several big bands. The vastly experienced tenor sax player Mike Lee, who has featured over the years as a leader and sideman of distinction for big bands and small groups alike, completes the line-up. The liner notes, written by Fielding, give an idea of the underlying philosophy and approach of the musicians, namely Buddhism, especially that of the Zen variety. All the compositions are by Fielding himself. All but one carry dedications, primarily to family, and the Buddhist influence is apparent in the track titles as well as in that of the album. The words An Appropriate Response are, we are told, a Ch'an master's attempt to summarise the fundamental teaching of the Buddha.

Bhavana , a word that means 'to cultivate or create', is dedicated to the pianist Fred Hersch. The melody is lilting and played with style and there is thoughtful interplay between piano and saxophone plus a creative drum solo. The second track, An Appropriate Response is busier and offers vigorous tenor sax and rippling piano. Mr Gotama's Dream is dedicated to Stephen Batchelor, a contemporary Buddhist thinker. This is a pensive number in waltz-time in which McKee's bass is to the fore. I enjoyed Lee's exploration of the theme and the overall cohesiveness of the group. Floating does just that. There is a tender, dreamy treatment of the tune by Lee on tenor, enhanced by attentive support from the rhythm section. Letting Go is a hypnotic, repetitive piece, running to eight minutes. I liked Andy McKee's penetrating work on bass on this and Mike Lee again impresses, this time with the urgency of his playing. There were even occasional echoes of Sonny Rollins! Lee keeps up that standard on Appamado, a Pali word which means 'To Take Care'. He is truly a revelation, expressing feeling and imagination. Descending Stairs features a hint of Baroque at times but is most notable for Brian Fielding's delicacy and charm on piano. The group as a whole shine on this one, though. The final track, Begin Again, confirms what has been apparent throughout - that Fielding has a superb touch and that he has chosen wisely and well his musical companions for this engaging recording session.

The title of the album includes the promise of more from this talented crew. On the basis of this encounter, Volume Two will be keenly anticipated by more than simply this reviewer.

James Poore

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