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Geoff EALES – Transience

Geoff Eales (piano): Brigitte Beraha (vocals); Noel Langley (trumpet and flugelhorn); Chris Laurence (bass); Martin France (drums)

Recorded October-November 2015, Koolworld Studios, The Hat Factory, Luton








Sleep Eternal

Life Dance



We Must All Change

Quirk of Fate

Gently Into The Night

The Dark Glass

If Only…


Remembering Kenny

Celestial Vision


There’s a strongly threnodic element to Geoff Eales’s latest album which bears a triple dedication to Valerie Eales (his mother), Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor. It is in that respect, if not necessarily any other, that it shares something of the same quality as Avishai Cohen’s latest album, itself dedicated to his late father. This memorializing quality is not, however, oppressive, rather it is absorbed into the current of a 12-track disc that acknowledges the fate of all things, whilst celebrating the individuality of a good life lived.

His quintet is fronted by Noel Langley’s trumpet and flugelhorn and by the vocals of Brigitte Beraha. In the engine room he has Chris Laurence and drummer Martin France. The vocals are the conduit by which reflections on life and death and allusive commentaries on them can best be conveyed, not least on the opener, Sleep Eternal, with its languid improvisatory element to the fore amidst its reflections on death. A subtle dance with folkloric hues strongly redolent of Eastern Europe pervades Life Dance and the light, airy vocals on Atonement belie the weightier expressive meaning.

Eales draws on Gospel for We Must All Change, an imperative instruction conveyed through a leaping vocal line whilst Quirk of Fate is a largely straight-ahead Blues outing but with a few surprises along the way. Eales’ rich chording and comping is best illustrated on the lullabyGently Into The Night, which presumably plays on the lines of Dylan Thomas but in an affirmatory way. An element of quietly musing regret pervades If Only…The multi-sectional Remembering Kenny is the longest track, and its lively, vibrant qualities are enhanced by Eales’s warm piano interlude and a turning-funky up-tempo gear change – here the trumpet and flugelhorn are overdubbed for a time as they exchange lines and France gets thrashily busy at the drums. Tension and vitality are the names of the game here. Celestial Vision returns to Gospel roots, and then there are the three piano solos, interspersed throughout, in which Eales distills romanticist elements – even going so far as to quote Chopin. These improvisations are deliberately kept short, at around the two-minute mark.

This thoughtful but affirmatory album continues Geoff Eales’ increasingly active and fine studio work.

Jonathan Woolf

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