Ellington In Anticipation
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Liam Noble -piano, Finn Peters- alto sax, James Allsop- clarinets, Margrit Hasler ( viola) Seb Rochford-drums, Tom Herbert-bass. A brand-new project inspired by the music of Duke Ellington.Taking many of Ellington’s most revered compositions such as Satin Doll, Mood Indigo, Take The A Train, It Don’t Mean A Thing and Creole Love Call, Mark has deconstructed and arranged these characterful melodies into a fascinating set of new music, rich in orchestration and concept and entirely respectful to the beauty of Ellington’s original creations. Featuring some of the most exciting and original musicians in the UK, this is a unique and radical project which beautifully combines the old with the new.
This all star seven- piece group includes Mark Lockheart (saxophone- Parliamentary Jazz Musician of the year 2010, Loose Tubes, Polar Bear etc ) Seb Rochford (drums) Liam Noble (piano) Tom Herbert (bass) Finn Peters (alto sax), James Allsop (clarinets) and Margrit Hasler ( viola)
The familiar titles belie the disarming originality of this record. Core Ellingtonian melodies remain intact ( Mood Indigo, Come Sunday, et al), everything else ( harmony, rhythm, structure) is rearranged for septet with wit, ingenuity and boldness. Interspersing with Ellington- inspired originals, saxophonist/arranger Lockheart has hit upon a delightful solution to the old/new wrangle.
MOJO, Chris Ingram ( June 2013)
Saxophonist Mark Lockheart, a key contributor to the laconic lyricism of Polar Bear, has been quietly evolving into one of the UK jazz scene's outstanding composers. Lockheart's lifelong enthusiasm for Duke Ellinfton and subsequent inspirations from Gil Evans to Django Bates, sound more imaginatively connected on this mix of originals and deconstructed Ellington classics than on any of his earlier albums – and a dream septet including Liam Noble on piano and Seb Rochford on drums set a raft of fresh ideas in motion. Lockheart's Ellington reinventions are radical, but never less than heartfelt tributes: It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) is played as a waltz, wriggling with Django Batesian countermelodies; Take the A Train opens to a chattering Colin Towns-like piano ostinato and is full of contemporary rhythm zigzags; Mood Indigo is for wistful violin before getting multi-melodic. Lockheart's own My Caravan is a Rochford-powered groove-juggle for bass clarinet epithets (James Allsopp) and alto sax eruptions (Finn Peters) that becomes Ellington's Caravan in the final minute; Beautiful Man is a classical-sounding meditation for Emma Smith's violin; an interpretation of Creole Love Call slowly builds a bluesy clamour out of airy beginnings; and Liam Noble is dreamily inspired on Indian Summer. It's a fine session, for Polar Bear fans and Ellington disciples alike.
The Guardian, John Fordham Feb 2013