Dave Stapleton, the Cardiff-based pianist-composer, has been described by Jazzwise as "a real find for British Jazz...a young musician of real maturity and vision". 'The House Always Wins' is Stapleton's fourth album as leader and his previous releases have given rave reviews in the Guardian, Observer and Jazzwise. In 2006 he was one of the young musicians chosen for the prestigious Jerwood / PRS Foundation 'Take Five' initiative, recognising his abilities and acknowledging his potential. As a musician there's a strength and virility to his playing, matched by an innate capacity for tenderness and reflection. As a composer, he draws upon a formidable grasp of jazz, classical and world music styles, yet transforms these raw materials into something richly personal.
With the exceptional talents of Paula Gardiner on bass and Elliot Bennett on drums, `The House Always Wins' is an album of powerful, driving rhythms and lingering melodic hooks. With the highly individualistic sound of Jonny Bruce on trumpet and impressive multi-instrumentalist Ben Waghorn on reeds, Stapleton has put together a band of high-rollers and high stakes winners. Two special guests are featured on one track each - the iconic vocalist Julie Tippetts and tabla player Aref Durvesh.
Imagine music as approachable and sophisticated as Jarrett or EST or the Bad Plus. Add that to the energy of the Messengers or Cannonball Adderley. That's the Dave Stapleton Quintet.
Dave Stapleton - (piano, keyboards), Jonny Bruce - (trumpet), Ben Waghorn - (reeds), Paula Gardiner - (bass), Elliott Bennett - (drums), Aref Durvesh - (tabla - track 5), Julie Tippetts - (vocals - track 8)
(4 stars) Hooks that could hardly be more accessible but which avoid any formulaic references...a real UK jazz revelation.
-- The Guardian, (John Fordham), September 7, 2007
(4 stars) There's some excellent thematic writing here...stays in the memory long after the record has finished.
-- Jazzwise, (Stuart Nicholson), September 2007
Eight fiery, bluesy, unaplogetically jazzy compositions. It's a cracking band...there's a steely strength here that shames more posey groups.
-- The Independent On Sunday, (Phil Johnson), September 9, 2007