Dan Rosenboom ‘Absurd In The Anthropocene’ 2LP/CD (Orenda/Gearbox) 4/5

“This album is about responding to our modern world in a way that is reflectively critical yet frenetically joyous,” Dan Rosenboom says. “Maelstrom and cognitive dissonance are everywhere, online and on the news. People cherry-pick what they want to believe and discount factual data. Inequity is rampant. In the face of such overwhelming chaos, turning toward our inner humanity is a powerful move. I want to take all that emotional fuel, and turn it into something creative, spontaneous, and beautiful.”

Trumpeter-composer-producer-entrepreneur Rosenboom is considered one of Los Angeles’ top musical pioneers. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times dubbed him “a musician dedicated to exploration and expression, regardless of anyone’s imagined boundaries.” His cross-genre penchant has had him work with John Williams, Hans Zimmer and Josh Grogan as well as many personal projects including Balkan jazz-rock group, PLOTZ, and socio-political protest band, Burning Ghosts. His need is not lost on the wide-ranging mix of high-quality musicians assembled here either: Jeff Babko (keyboards), Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak, and Zach Danziger (drums), Jimmy Johnson, Tim Lefebvre and Jerry Watts Jr. (bass), Rosenboom’s longtime mate Gavin Templeton and jazzer David Binney on saxophones…the list goes on, you get the picture.

“Mr. Lizard Said” has Danziger hurling himself around the kit and around Babko’s fat synth bassline as Rosenboom horn-scats some smoothed-off angles, sometimes doubling up with Babko, sometimes returning to a motif. Special energy between them.

If God gives you lemons…riff hard. “Lemonade” high-density rocks. Danzinger again bringing power, as the band make deep, thick saxy Sabbath and Tim Conley goes all Maggot Brained on us.

“Pushed to the Edge of Ideas by Dispassionate Bias-Algorithm Bots” is definitely the best track title of 2020. Musically, it has an early-mid 90s vibe about it, like a slightly less algorithm-obsessed M-base or something. The space created for solos by Novak and Watts Jr is inviting, enthusing and both Templeton and Rosenboom take full advantage. Rosenboom’s solo is so well-paced and deliberate, creating high drama and continued expectation. Love it when the horns come back together to coda.

Expansive and hovering with very little projection is “Still”. +6 minutes of sparse glam space jazz backing to a deft, pure, heartfelt Rosenboom’s slow exploration of feeling and location. Gorgeous.

“Heliopteryx” is wild and exuberant; washes, scrapes, grinds and burps support Danzinger’s massacre of his kit as fierce riffing horns lead to both Rosenboom and Templeton letting rip. Kinda art jazz prog metal, kinda.

“Nebulounge” (another great title) is tight n funky with Rosenboom a bit Miles and Templeton nice and lyrical. Feels like they’re jamming but keeping it tidy.

“Apes in Rapture” (yet another great title!) is a joyful, big band, 70s space trekking TV soundtrack with a touch of the Zappas about it. It’s so good-natured yet classy in its captivating swells and releases, its difficult time changes. High glamour too; it must be that Hollywood influence…

The jazzy IDM-aware “Forget What You Know” has Danziger battling some robotic square fuzz as first Templeton then Rosenboom heroically duck n dive. The serpentine “Green Moon” appears to effortlessly meander until Novak’s explosive work is finally wrapped up tight by those damned snake horns.

Chugging dampened metal guitar throbs “Obsidian Butterfly” along. Swinging horn riffs come and go. Haunted, chaotic sax. Distorted, delayed guitars wail. Scales occasionally head east. Epic.

Novak gets very busy during the final adventure, “Drowning On The High Ground”. Ganged, tentacle-like lines explore the higher ground, comping and dancing keys take over, subduing Novak briefly before Rosenboom stands proud, tentacles return and our musical journey gently comes to an end.

There’s A LOT going on here. The musicianship is faultless throughout. And, yes, genres are blurred and envelopes are pushed but it never feels forced or that the blurring-and-pushing is its main purpose. It feels spontaneous, euphoric, characterful and always like the musicians are having lots of fun; together. That’s a pretty healthy response to this chaotic, dissonant modern world, I would’ve thought.

Ian Ward

UK Vibe ‘Best of 2019’ – Molly Gallegos

My favourite albums of 2019
(In No Particular Order)

Orieta Chrem – Tótems (Matraca)
Mitú – Tandem (Ajabu!)
Nicola Cruz – Siku (ZZK)
Mateo Kingman – Astro (AYA)
Various – Flora y Fauna: Ecosistema de Folklore Digital Argentino (Pura/Discos Crack)
Combo Chimbita – Ahomale (ANTI‐)
Quitapenas – Tigrada (Cosmica)
Helado Negro – This is How You Smile (Universal Music Australia)
Liniker e os Caramelows – Goela Abaixa (Self-released)
Catalina – Multifacética (Self-released)
Los Retros – Retrospect (Stones Throw)
Girl Ultra – Nuevos Aires (Finesse/Empire)
La Santa Cecilia – La Santa Cecilia (Rebeleon/Universal)
Sister Mantos – Songs in the Key of Destroy Capitalism (Self-released)
Making Movies – ameri’kana (3/2 Recordings)
Fémina – Perlas y Conchas (Self-released)
Juana Molina – ForFun (Crammed Discs)
Y la Bamba – Mujeres (Tender Loving Empire)
Daymé Arocena – Sonocardiogram (Brownswood Recordings)

UK Vibe ‘Best of 2019’ – Mike Gates

Mike Gates’ Best of 2019:

1. Dr. Mark Lomax, II – 400: An Afrikan Epic (CFG Multimedia)

2. Nat Birchall – The Storyteller: A Musical Tribute to Yusef Lateef (Jazzman)

3. Bridges with Seamus Blake – Continuum (AMP Music & Records)

4. Plume – Escaping the Dark Side (jazz&people)

5. Muriel Grossmann – Reverence (RR Gems / Dreamlandrecords)

6. Ethan Iverson Quartet with Tom Harrell – Common Practice (ECM)

7. Liam Noble – The Long Game (Edition)

8. Tom Syson – Different Coloured Days (Self-released)

9. Julian Lage – Love Hurts (Mack Avenue)

10. Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Live in Gothenburg (ACT Music)

11. Espen Berg Trio – Free To Play (Odin)

12. Szabolcs Oláh Quintet – Crystal Book (Self-released)

13. Kit Downes – Dreamlife of Debris (ECM)

14. Rebecca Nash/Atlas – Peaceful King (Whirlwind Recordings)

15. Adam Rudolph’s Go Organic Orchestra – Ragmala (Meta)

16. Crosscurrents Trio [Dave Holland / Zakir Hussain / Chris Potter] – Good Hope (Edition)

17. Enrico Rava / Joe Lovano – Roma (ECM)

18. Anton Eger – Æ (Edition)

19. Andy Hay – Many Rivers (Self-released)

20. Mike Walker – Ropes (Market Square)

UK Vibe ‘Best of 2019’ – Andy Allen

Andy Allen’s Rhythm Chronicles favourite new releases of 2019:

A Man Called Adam – Ou Pas (Other)
Aldorande – Beauty Island (Favorite)
Nat Birchall – Love Theme From “Spartacus” (Jazzman)
Camarão Orkestra – Nação África (Favorite)
John Coltrane – Blue World (Impulse!)
Darkhouse Family – All The Way feat. Tyler Daley & Kaidi Tatham (First Word)
Mark de Clive-Lowe – Offering (Ropeadope)
EVM128 – Changes feat. Renato Paris [Renato’s Live Version] (Studio Rockers)
Greg Foat – The Dreaming Jewels [Full Album] (Athens Of The North)
14KT pres. Iamabeenie – The Power Of Same feat. Muhsinah (First Word)
Muriel Grossmann – Reverence [Full Album] (RR Gems / Dreamlandrecords)
Matthew Halsall – Distant Land (Gondwana)
Matthew Halsall – It’s What We Do (Gondwana)
Billy Hoyle – Infinite Instance (House Of Beige)
Javonntte – Blue Lady (Ten Lovers Music)
Deborah Jordan – Stay With You feat. Oz & LaNote (Futuristica Music)
Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka [Full Album] (Polydor)
Oso Leone – Virtual U (Apollo)
Han Litz Group – Elaboration Of The Spirits (Han Litz)
Daniel Maunick – One Nite Stand (Far Out Recordings)
The Midnight Hour [Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad] – Harmony feat. Loren Oden (The Midnight Hour)
Mildlife – How Long Does It Take? (Heavenly)
Myele Manzanza – Itaru’s Phone Booth (First Word)
Mosambique – Big City Moves (Jazzland)
Natural Lateral – Cogito Ergo Jam [Full Album] (Social Joy)
Anderson .Paak – King James (Aftermath/12 Tone Music)
Theo Parrish with Maurissa Rose – This Is For You (Sound Signature)
The Pendletons – Blessings For The World (Bastard Jazz)
Jordan Rakei – Origin [Full Album] (Ninja Tune)
Resavoir – Taking Flight feat. Brandee Younger (International Anthem)
Ronin Arkestra – Stranger Searching (Albert’s Favourites)
Ruby Rushton – Eleven Grapes (22A)
Saul – Earth & Rain feat. Poppy Ajudha (Rhythm Section International)
Scrimshire – Won’t Get Better feat. Emma-Jean Thackray (Albert’s Favourites)
Seed Ensemble – The Dream Keeper feat. Cherise Adams-Burnett (Jazz re:freshed)
Sivey – Nobody Else (CoOp Presents)
Summer Children – Samba Bacchanalia (Kid)
Georgie Sweet – Sorry (Futuristica Music)
Dwight Trible – Mothership (Gearbox)
Etuk Ubong – Suddenly (Jazzaggression)
Yelfris Valdes – After Sly (Musica Macondo)
Marcos Valle – Odisseia (Far Out Recordings)
Ash Walker – Aquamarine [Full Album] (Night Time Stories)
Leon Ware – For The Rainbow (Be With Records)
Brandee Younger – Soulris feat. Ravi Coltrane (Self-released)

UK Vibe ‘Best of 2019’ – Brian Goucher

Brian Goucher’s Best of 2019 (In no order)

A Different Sound – Eclectic (Chamber Nickel)
Bastards Of Soul ‘The Waiting Time’ (Eastwood Music Group 45)
Arthur Adams ‘Tear The House Down’ from Here to Make You Feel Good (Cleopatra Blues)
Black & Blues “Chains” (BGP/Flying Dutchman 45 – Unissued early 70s)
Gloria (Rosebud) Black ‘Would You Believe’ (Odav 45 – Unissued Slow Version)
Kelly Finnigan ‘Impressions Of You’ from The Tales People Tell (Colemine)
Sugar Ray Rayford ‘My Cards Are On The Table’ from Somebody Save Me (Forty Below)
The Jay Vons ‘Maybe I Loved You’ from The Word (La Castanya)
Little Anne ‘What Should I Do (Alt Take)’ from Detroit’s Secret Soul (Kent)
Roland Johnson Feat. Emily Wallace ‘Still Here’ from Set Your Mind Free (Blue Lotus)
Laville ‘The Truth’ from The Wanderer (Acid Jazz)
Beres Hammond ‘I Will Take You There’ from Never Ending (VP Music)
Miles Davis Feat. Randy Hall ‘I Love What We Make Together’ from Rubberband (Warner/Rhino)
The Brand New Heavies with Laville ‘Dontcha Wanna’ from TBNH (Acid Jazz)
Menahan Street Band Feat. Saundra Williams ‘There’s A New Day Coming’ (Dunham 45)
Calvin Richardson – Gold Dust (Shanachie)
J. Red The Nephew – Platinum Soul (Soulmop Music)
Reggie Boone – Made Of Love (Moma Moma Music)
Authentics Feat. Ronnie Walker ‘No One Will Ever Know’ (MD 45 Unissued early 70s)
Cool Million Feat. Boogie Black & A.Tobin ‘Save Your Love’ from Stronger (Sedsoul)

Patrice Rushen ‘You Remind Me: The Classic Elektra Recordings 1978-1984’ 3LP/CD (Strut) 5/5

With ‘Remind Me’, Patrice Rushen’s five album Elektra Records catalogue – which includes ‘Patrice’ (1978), ‘Pizzazz’ (1979), ‘Posh’ (1980), ‘Straight From The Heart’ (1982) and ‘Now’ (1984) – is celebrated for the cherished era-defining and genre-defining soundtrack to the 1980s’ distinct style of R&B and funk-inspired disco that they were.

Even before Patrice Rushen’s revered Elektra partnership had begun, the pianist, vocalist and composer boasted three projects to her name and already solidified herself as an in-demand session musician having appeared on projects by Donald Byrd, Harvey Mason and Eddie Henderson. But while those Elektra recordings introduced Rushen to a more global audience bringing her worldwide recognition and subsequent Grammy nominations, hardcore fans of her first three projects were initially left dumbfounded at the seemingly drastic change of style which saw Rushen move on from the jazz aesthetic established through those albums on Prestige Records.

Even though Rushen’s recordings as far back as her second album for Prestige (‘Before The Dawn’, 1975) had started to embrace the concept of fusion by incorporating different styles into her music, with the early Elektra releases, Rushen had to fight through the accusations of having sold out in a bid to deliver her music to a wider audience and thus achieve more creative freedom with the music she wanted to make.

Thinking back, although the criticism could be argued to be understandable, it still seems surprising that any of the releases presented on this ‘Remind Me’ compilation could have been met with any negativity at all. A collection of classic recordings that have gone on to inspire generations of new artists up to forty years after their initial release with many of these tracks still reintroducing themselves into contemporary markets through covers and samples; Rushen had once claimed to receive approximately thirty requests per week seeking permission for sampling rights of her music, which has already seen countless reinterpretations from artists including Faith Evans, Mary J Blige, Kirk Franklin and Mark Ronson amongst many others.

The fifteen tracks presented here sees each of Rushen’s five (Elektra) albums visited with many of her signature and most known songs included: the lush ‘Settle For My Love’ finds a place, as does several 12-inch mixes of songs like ‘Haven’t You Heard’ and ‘Feels So Real’ which are nice touches. There is also a strong contribution from the album that went on to serve as Patrice Rushen’s biggest project, ‘Straight From The Heart’, with the 12-inch mix of the instrumental gem ‘Number One’ and one of Rushen’s most sampled tracks, the sublime groove of ‘Remind Me’ which was something of a staple within hip-hop in the 1990s. And of course, there is the definitive 1980’s gem of ‘Forget Me Nots’ – the unmistakable bass of Freddie Washington and sax by Gerald Albright culminating in Rushen’s first Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1983 – as well as numerous samples and covers most famously by Will Smith for ‘Men in Black’ and George Michael for ‘Fast Love’.

‘Remind Me’ serves as such a fantastic, and somewhat essential, introduction to Patrice Rushen’s music particularly for anyone reading this who may never have purchased a full-length album of her work before. And yes, while songs like ‘Forget Me Nots’ are representative of that glossy 80s-esque soul/disco style, what this compilation also achieves in showcasing is Rushen’s versatility as demonstrated through songs like the aforementioned ‘Settle For My Love’ and others like ‘Music of the Earth’ and the exquisite ‘When I Found You’.

Imran Mirza

Notable Deaths 2019

Alvin Fielder, 83, American jazz drummer.
Joseph Jarman, 81, American jazz musician (Art Ensemble of Chicago).
Michel Legrand, 86, French composer, conductor and jazz pianist, Oscar winner (1968, 1971, 1983).
Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, 66 Zimbabwe Afro-jazz musician.
Connie Jones, 84, American jazz trumpeter.
Ken Nordine, 98, American voice-over and recording artist (Word Jazz, Son of Word Jazz, Love Words).
Ethel Ennis, 86, American jazz singer.
João Gilberto, 88, Brazilian singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
Ira Gitler, 90, American jazz historian and journalist.
Ginger Baker, 80, English drummer.
Dorothy Masuka, 83, Zimbabwean-born South African jazz singer.
Ed Bickert, 86, Canadian jazz guitarist.
Dr. John, 77, American singer and songwriter.
James Dapogny, 78, American jazz musicologist and pianist.
George Benson, 90, American jazz saxophonist (Motown sessions).
Jim Beatty, 84, American jazz musician.
Simaro Lutumba, 81, Congolese musician (TPOK Jazz).
John Oddo, 66, American jazz pianist and music arranger.
Einar Iversen, 88, Norwegian jazz pianist and composer.
Ras G, 40, American record producer.
Robin Jones, 84, Latin music percussionist.
Ib Glindemann, 84, Danish jazz composer and bandleader.
Sol Yaged, 96, American jazz clarinettist.
Michel Gaudry, 90, French jazz bassist.
Davey J. Williams, 67, American free improvisation and avant-garde music
Paolo Vinaccia, 65, Italian jazz percussionist.
Arno Marsh, 91, American jazz saxophonist.
Bob Wilber, 91, American jazz clarinettist and bandleader.
Erling Wicklund, 75, Norwegian jazz trombonist and journalist.
Jim Cullum Jr., 77, American jazz cornetist.
Clora Bryant, 92, American jazz trumpeter.
Vic Vogel, 84, Canadian jazz pianist, composer and conductor.
Harold Mabern, 83, American jazz pianist and composer, heart attack.
María Rivas, 59, Venezuelan Latin jazz singer and composer.
Richard Wyands, 91, American jazz pianist.
Larry Willis, 78, American jazz pianist.
Gianni Lenoci, 56, Italian jazz pianist.
Milcho Leviev, 81, Bulgarian jazz pianist.
Atilla Engin, 73, Turkish jazz drummer.
Jan Erik Kongshaug, 75, Norwegian recording engineer and jazz guitarist.
Bob Szajner, 81, American jazz pianist.
Jan Byrczek, 83, Polish-American jazz bassist, founder of Jazz Forum.
Eddie Duran, 94, American jazz guitarist.
Herbert Joos, 79, German jazz trumpeter.
Joe McQueen, 100, American jazz saxophonist.
Irv Williams, 100, American jazz saxophonist.
Vic Juris, 66, American jazz guitarist.
James Ingram, 66, American R&B singer-songwriter.
Frankie Smith, 65–66, American funk and R&B musician.
Andre Williams, 82, American R&B singer and songwriter.
Glen Brown, 75, Jamaican reggae musician and record producer.
Pat Kelly, 74, Jamaican rocksteady and reggae singer.
Jah Stitch, 69, Jamaican reggae singer.
Bunny Brown, 60s, Jamaican reggae musician.
Willie Murphy, 75, American blues musician.
Mike Ledbetter, 33, American blues musician.
Ayub Ogada, 63, Kenyan musician.
Chartwell Dutiro, 62, Zimbabwean musician.
Ubirajara Penacho dos Reis, 85, Brazilian musician.
Mose Se Sengo, 73, Congolese musician.
Stan Applebaum, 96, American musician, composer and arranger.
Mac Wiseman, 93, American bluegrass musician.
Boon Gould, 64, English musician (Level 42).
John Starling, 79, American bluegrass musician.
Preston Epps, 88, American musician.
Johnny Clegg, 66, British-born South African singer and musician.
Leo Gauriloff, 62, Finnish musician.
Jimmy Johnson, 76, American musician (Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section) and record producer.

Lookout Farm ‘At Onkel Pö’s, Carnegie Hall, Hamburg 1975’ LP/CD (Jazzline) 3/5

This 1975 recording, at Hamburg’s Onkel Pö’s, came a year or so after Miles Davis saxophonist Dave Liebman and pianist Richie Beirach’s Lookout Farm had released their first, highly acclaimed eponymous album on ECM. As per that album the rest of the band is made up of core characters: bassist Frank Tusa, drummer Jeff Williams and percussionist Badal Roy. Alas no John Abercrombie tonight.

We’ve got five tracks; three Liebman penned originals plus Coltrane’s “Your Lady” and Sinatra’s “I’m a Fool to Want You”. It’s roughly an hour’s worth of ferocious fusion/free jazz with its feet erratically dancing/moshing around that mid-70s post-Bitches Brew territory.

“The Iguana’s Ritual” happily tiptoes in with a playful Tusa pattern and Williams and Roy bouncing off each other before Roy tightens up the rhythm, allowing a delay-drenched Liebman to float and a Rhodes’d-up Beirach to squelch as Williams hits it hard and the band settle into a very punchy 14-minute funky fusion strut. Dirty.
Not sure you’d recognise Sinatra’s “I’m a Fool to Want You” until Liebman belts out his vision of the lines after six minutes or so, taking it to the end following a distinct but disconnected percussive part led by Roy and a slightly more connected cascading Beirach piano segue.

“Your Lady” is a handsome take on Trane’s tune. It effortlessly flows as Tusa confidently busies it along and Beirach dips in and out with brief stabbing lines. Tusa and Beirach drop out at roughly the eight-minute mark leaving Liebman and Williams to properly go at it; at the same pace but without the warmth, a battle ensues.

“Fireflies” is fast n funky. Tusa riffs, Williams flies and Beirach berates. Hostile n funky?! Liebman tries to take the heat out of it and the argument abates briefly but Tusa and Williams won’t let it lie for long and it all kicks off again leading to a spectacularly inflamed finale.

“Napanoch” is initiated by a sweet, lyrical Liebman solo before the fellas stumble in and within seconds the energy blazes white-hot. They come together and break apart, come together, break apart. Explosive. Merciless. Aggressively spiritual.

This album presents Liebman’s Lookout Farm at its fiercest. The quintet are really on it tonight. It’s relentless, kinda spacey and spiritual, high-energy, high-powered, high-quality, macho free-jazz rock. Not for the faint of heart, this one. It’s occasionally disjointed, a bit ‘harsh’ and messy maybe, but always exhilarating and driven.

Ian Ward

An Insight into Jazz Musicians’ Lives

Jazz photographer Brian Homer and jazz researcher Dr Pedro Cravinho of Birmingham City University have been collaborating on a project called Jazz Journeys: Everyday Life which looks behind the image of the gigging musician. The collaboration uses both photography and interviews to reveal some of the issues jazz musicians face in their careers and the non-gig related, and sometimes non-jazz related, work they do.

In amongst the six musicians involved in the project you will find musicians cooking, teaching Taekwondo, doing care work, looking after their kids, repairing instruments and writing plays as well as the more well-known music teaching sessions.

The musicians are pianist David Austin Grey, sax players Alicia Gardener-Trejo, Chris Young and Joey Walter, violinist and vocalist Ruth Angell, and 2018 Young Jazz Musician of the Year Xhosa Cole. There’s an exhibition in Birmingham featuring the photographs and selected quotes from the musicians from 16th January to 1st February 2020 – dates which wrap around the international Documenting Jazz Conference at Birmingham City University which runs from 16th to 18th January 2020.

If you visit the exhibition at Centrala in Digbeth, Birmingham you’ll find out more about these musicians lives and what they do as well as play jazz.

Venue: Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley St, Birmingham B5 5RT
Tel: 0121 513 0240 Web: www.centrala-space.org.uk
January 15th to February 1st 2020
Open Wednesdays to Saturdays 12 – 8pm

David Austin Grey teaching at a SoundLab Saturday session in Coventry.

Chris Young doing a cooking shift at The Shakespeare pub, Summer Row, Birmingham.

Ruth Angell getting ready to go out with the uniform she used to wear doing care home shifts hanging on the wardrobe door.

Matt Ulery ‘Delicate Charms’ LP/CD (Woolgathering) 4/5

It’s always a pleasure to hear Matt Ulery’s and Greg Ward’s unique, innovative takes on jazz. “Delicate Charms” is bass player/composer Ulery’s 9th (!) album as bandleader and it brings him together with Ward (alto sax) plus old mates Zach Broch (violin), Rob Clearfield (piano) and Quin Kirchner (drums). A violin and alto attack, eh? Interesting sonic and emotional possibilities…

“Coping” is a +13 minute six-part suite, where the graceful, lyrical, swollen violin/alto harmonised melodies are sodden with emotion while its rhythmical changes guide us through a dramatic inner process of pain and reflection. No surprise when we understand that the piece was created over the course of a year during which Ulery’s close family members suffered health challenges. It’s a beautifully grand, mesmeric short story of solemnity and passion.

“The Effortless Enchantment” is an aptly titled romance that Ulery wrote for his parents’ 40th wedding anniversary vow renewal celebration. Soft-lensed, nuanced and celebratory, it glows with affection.

“Mellisonant” opens with an eye-wateringly wistful melody right out of a love-lost silent movie and then rolls into 3 more parts; all gentle, all captivatingly filmic. The interaction between Ward and Broch is magical – there’s no rush, there’s no egging-on as such just watchful empathy and understanding. They know where each other is, gently passing into the space ahead of them.

“The Air We Breath” is more urgent; tighter with a mildly claustrophobic tension which is occasionally breezed away but always returns, tightening chests. Clearfield and Kirchner boss this tighten-then-release dynamic, with Clearfield’s spiritual, free, caressing solo achieving peak calm.

“Taciturn” has a curt, rock energy. It broods where the rest of album candidly emotes. “October” is a rework of a track on Ulery’s second album. It has a suspicious, tango energy as if the dancing partners mistrust each other but are incapable of separating; their passion increasing as the piece intensifies before relaxing into a calm, shared post-coital smoke.

The final track, “Nerve”, opens with Clearfield taking us on an eyes-closed, journey of feel; delicate daydream showers. Brock and Ward then lift us with equal beauty but greater purpose before Ulery ruminates and communicates and the quintet fasten, grip and surge to an energised finale.

“Delicate Charms” is gorgeous. Ulery’s unique vision of subtle grandiosity is let fly. It is texturally layered and emotionally swollen yet maintains a refined elegance; dense yet crystal-clear. With each album, Ulery’s voice evolves and gains greater focus. Always a pleasure.

Ian Ward

Read also:
Matt Ulery ‘Sifting Stars’ LP/CD (Woolgathering) 3/5

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