As the cover suggests, this album is sunny and warm, not only in its analogue recording, Latin rhythms and alto tonalities but also in the musical interplay. Oriole blends 'ear worm' melodies, complex rhythms and generous improvisation into a unique and attractive sound. Though technically jazz, it draws on the many styles of `world music'. It will appeal to a wide audience and sounds great on the hifi or the kitchen cd. At times the music gets hot and you can almost feel the sun passing overhead.
Jonny Phillips is at the heart of Oriole, not only as composer and arranger, but also the guitarist quietly holding things together. Like a ticking clock you notice him most when things quieten down. He is the perfect foil an outstanding trio of soloists, Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Idris Rahman (sax, clarinet) and Ben Davis (cello) and the formidably tight rhythm section of Seb Rochford (drums), Ruth Goller (bass) and Adriano Adewale (percussion). Weaving his way through the two is the superb Nick Ramm (piano), the new ingredient to the Oriole sound.
With Levante, the band strikes up a warm `bossa nova'. It's a nice start which emphasizes the live, single-take recording. Mountain Flower is a little more urgent with a beautifully structured solo by Idris. Sintra is perhaps the most distinctive sounding piece of the album. Lord Byron considered Sintra, Portugal to be the most beautiful town in the world and Oriole does it justice with an interplay of piano, drums and plucked cello. When the latter two fall away, Nick's piano sparkles like a fountain in the sunlight.
In La Sonrisa Picara the sun smiles across a broader musical landscape which in Medem becomes hot and slow, Ingid's sax scorching the senses. With Temba we have movement again, dancing the mountain tops, before reaching Between the Mountains and the Sea, a calm verdant musical place.
The excellent Sherpa Song gets things moving again and leads to the free playing and reggae rhythms of the title track, Every New Day. After the partying, the album leads into a quiet ending, the beautiful introduction and lullaby, Bertha.
All the tracks are strong and there are many musical influences in the mix. The highlights will depend your personal taste. For me, its now Levante, Medem and Temba but last week it was Sintra, La Sonrisa Picara and Bertha. Next week it will be something else... I just can't stop listening to it!