An outstanding recording featuring saxophonist Peter King's quintet (with Gerard Prescencer) in full flow plus (on one track) Gordon Beck and the Lyric String Quartet. This 1998 recording catches Peter King's working band of that time in full flow on a repertoire of surprising breadth - Latin music, boiling Coltranesque sermons, fast bebop and exquisitely delicate and often poignant ballads. Joining the saxophonist on this outstanding CD are trumpeter Gerard Prescencer, pianist Steve Melling and the propulsive bass and drums partnership of Jeremy Brown and Stephen Keogh. One track, "Lust", adds an extra dimension to the album by setting thriller movie strings against double time alto soloing and features long time associate, pianist Gordon Beck together with the Lyric String Quartet.
King is a master craftsman of the saxophone and one of the British players who has made an impact on the international scene. This extraordinary album shows why. Like so many players his first influence was Charlie Parker, but these days he is very much his own man. He solos always with power and authority, and never better than he does on this album. He is imaginative and original, and one of the most moving tracks in this set is "Tristan's Song", played on soprano and King's attempt to capture the poignancy of Wagner's masterpiece. The use of a string quartet on this and another composition of his, "Lust", evokes memories of Stan Getz's "Focus" collaboration with Eddie Sauter. The alto on "Lust" sails through the strings very much as Getz did on "Night Rider". Apart from the broiling saxophone inventions, pianists Steve Hamilton and Gordon Beck are outstanding and Gerard Presencer's trumpet makes a good foil for King in the tracks on which he appears. The two horns make a satisfyingly mellow voice in ensemble but appropriately it is the leaping, tumbling saxophone solos that rivet one's attention. --Steve Voce