Paul Riley Quintet ‘Into View’ (Jellymould) 3/5

paul-riley-quintetFusion jazz with shades of rock can all too easily be summarily dismissed, but in the case of leader and alto and soprano saxophone player Paul Riley that would be a mistake on the part of the listener. The sound here is progressive fusion in the Steps Ahead vein with the leader coming across as a composite of the young Michael Brecker and David Sanborn. An acoustic line-up includes guitarist Ant Law who has only recently recorded as a leader himself and some of the young Turks of the London jazz scene are on hand with Dave Hamblett on drums to propel the rhythm section. There is some fine ensemble work on the title track which is an uplifting number and a genuine maturity in the use of space. In marked contrast the contemplative ballad ‘Another summer’ features some lovely bass work from Matt Ridley and gentle guitar from Law. Back in an uptempo groove, the brief piece ‘Opening’ leads directly into ‘Spindrift’ where the parallel with Steps is most obvious and this provides the opportunity for pianist Mitch Jones to solo effectively. Riley himself excels on a lyrical ballad ‘Laura’ with expansive bass line work from Ridley. The group will be undertaking a UK tour beginning in early April.

Tim Stenhouse