Collocutor ‘The Search’ LP/DIG (On The Corner) 5/5

“The Search” is the second album from Collocutor, the London based ensemble led by Tamar Osborn. There is a vintage, authentic feel to the seven original tunes, with themes of spirituality, searching, belonging, and a sense of emotional grounding running through and connecting the pieces together. Modal jazz blends beautifully, beatifically, with an innate soulful expression to give the listener an intimate and engaging experience.
Collocutor are: Tamar Osborn, baritone and soprano sax and alto flute, Simon Finch, trumpet and flugelhorn, Mike Lesirge, tenor and soprano sax, Suman Joshi, bass, Marco Piccioni, guitar, Magnus Mehta, percussion, and Maurizio Ravalico, percussion. The first thing to mention is that collectively, the band work incredibly well together, So much so that one can feel the expressive nature of their music. It is perhaps as it should be; the instruments being purely a vessel from which the artists breathe life through the music they make.
Collocutor is the brainchild of saxophonist Tamar Osborn and the project grew from her wish to simply write the music that wanted to be written, rather than focus on a particular audience or context. As such, the compositions draw inspiration from the many genres encountered over a course of a varied career, ranging from jazz, afrobeat, Indian classical and Ethiopian roots to polyphonic choral music and minimalism – the link being primarily modal music with a transportive effect. There is an authentic ethnic feel that flows throughout this recording, and indeed, one that seems to underpin everything else. The music is at times minimalistic, at times coursing with unadulterated adventure, and at times burning brightly as Osborn’s vision sparks into life, transporting the listener to either a previously unexperienced dimension, or to deep within his/her own soul; tempting and teasing out emotive responses to what is being heard.
‘The Search’ is such a bold album in so many ways, not least given the fact that Osborn appears to have an inner strength and confidence to go with her heart and make music in the way that she feels is right for her. The expressive nature of the music is thoughtful, intriguing and engrossing. It beguiles and it soothes and it transforms and it awakens. It opens up the mind, body and soul in an almost meditatively healing way, if you let it in. Embrace the source, let it live with you for a while, contemplate, swim with it, travel with it, and your journey will be one of rewarding fulfilment. Pick at it, throw it on and turn it off, half-listen, or try too hard to analyse it, and it might leave you for cold, wondering what it’s all about.

Wonderful brass arrangements combine with etherial soloing, making everything sound so real, so grounded, yet at the same time, of another time and place. Graceful interludes, incisive passages, and experimental sounds work harmoniously to enrich and elevate the music being performed. Juxtaposed, fractured and tempestuous outcrops grow fleetingly alongside peaceful, sublime, judicious landscapes. The music breathes. It rises, it subsides, and like life itself, it rests, it races, it questions and it answers. And most of all, it doesn’t dictate, it simply allows the listener to see a doorway. Whether the listener chooses to go through that doorway and encounter whatever experience unfolds, is entirely up to them.

Mike Gates