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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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Jimmy O’Connell Sixtet – Arrhythmia

Jimmy O’Connell (trombone): Andrew Gould (alto and soprano saxophones): Tim Basom (guitar): Tuomo Uusitalo (piano): Peter Slavov (bass): Jimmy MacBride (drums)

Recorded October 2015, Samurai Hotel

OUTSIDE IN MUSIC 1603 [58:05]

 

Lament

Gray Matter

Bolivia

Arrhythmia

In the Wee Small Hours

(Millie) in June

Crayons

Solidarity

 

Yes, it’s Sixtet not Sextet. And it’s Jimmy O’Connell’s first album as leader too. The trombonist has worked a good deal with the likes of Randy Brecker so he keeps fast, indeed august company. With like-minded confrères he’s done well to exploit the trombone/saxophone front line – with the density that implies – aided by the excellent four-man rhythm section.

There’s a good straight-ahead feel to JJ Johnson’s Lament with fine solos all round, Andrew Gould’s soprano sax working in a mobile way around the leader’s trombone, and guitarist Tim Basom shows his chops as well. There are five originals from the leader among the eight tracks. One is Gray Matter, with some kicking solos and a rather angular theme. Bolivia mines Latino tropes courtesy of its composer, Cedar Walton, and it gets an avid and inspiring reading from the group.

Arrhythmia – the condition from which O’Connell suffers - receives a saucily mid to up-tempo rendition and this is followed by the very necessary balladic interpretation of In the Wee Small Hours with a richly burnished ‘bone solo and ultimately cadential passage. I’ve not mentioned pianist Tuomo Uusitalo but he takes a fascinating solo on the up-tempo swinger (Millie) in June with its hints of Classical fugue. Sometimes, it’s true, the tunes themselves are somewhat anonymous – Crayons is a case in point – but there’s fine compensation in the shape of the amiably loose-limbed closer, Solidarity, slowish and swinging, propelled by Jimmy MacBride and Peter Slavov in the rhythm section.

This is an enjoyable album from an integrated, swinging band. It repays repeated listening for its subtle ensembles and sense of colour.

Jonathan Woolf



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