Tom Green Septet ‘Tipping Point’ (Spark!) 4/5

Perhaps most commonly attributed to Malcolm Gladwell’s publication of twenty years ago, The Tipping Point has always been something of an attention-grabbing phrase and perhaps a call to arms in its own way: when the words “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point” are employed for a situation, it’s quite clear that something needs to be done, be it in reference to political situations, social commentary or global factors impacting the world as a whole. While several projects have surfaced over the past few years protesting events revolving sexism, racism and certain US political leaders, the environment has also created some stirring pieces of work in regards to the tipping point we find ourselves currently in.

The new Gianluca Vigliar’s album sought to raise awareness to the dangers of increasing levels of plastic found in the oceans and Tom Green’s Septet also turns its attention to the environment calling in to question the over-consumption of our resources as well as the long-lasting impact of deforestation.

Tom Green’s star has been steadily on the rise for quite some time – the trombonist, composer and arranger, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the recipient of the 2013 Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition the 2017 Eddie Harvey Arranger’s Award… accomplishments and accolades we’d need a separate article to fully discuss but rest assured, his is a résumé displaying excellence and passion towards his craft. Released through Green’s own Spark! Records, ‘Tipping Point’ marks the septet’s sophomore album release with their debut ‘Skyline’ (2015) having received staggering acclaim upon its release. The years in between have been filled with various side projects including Patchwork Jazz Orchestra and Brass Funkeys amongst others and further Spark! releases from Lorraine Baker and Scrapbook – names that, like Green himself, strive to shine a light on an exciting new generation of jazz musicians.

‘Tipping Point’ sees returning members of ‘Skyline’ including James Davison on trumpet, Sam Miles and Tommy Andrews on saxophones, Sam James on piano, Scott Chapman on drums and double bass by Misha Mullov-Abbado joining Green on trombone. With many of the members here also joining Green on other projects, there’s a close-knit union amongst the musicians as they play, demonstrable by the music throughout – the album’s title track kicks things off wonderfully with a strong energy that perhaps strives to capture the many intricacies and conflictions that the title suggests. Again, the aptly-named ‘Kaleidoscope’ is another strong and confident highlight that beautifully stands tall. ‘My Old Man’ serves as the album’s one cover song – originally by Joni Mitchell (‘Blue’, 1971), the acoustic, stripped-down original version thrives with the septet’s reinterpretation of the folk queen’s classic.

With a percentage of Green’s these album sales being divided between the Trees For Life and Cool Earth charities, ‘Tipping Point’ looks set to bring Tom Green waves more plaudits for another album sure to make his star rise even higher.

Imran Mirza

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Tom Green Septet ‘Skyline’ (Spark!) 4/5