on 9 January 2013
Originally released in October 2012 Manchester's Matthew Halsall has continued to explore and develop his understanding of Jazz, exhibiting a keen awareness of the genre's past greats (particularly Miles Davis and John Coltrane) whilst simultaneously (and knowingly) keeping an ear to the modern musical Jazz impulse, which often stretches out beyond the parameters accepted in certain quarters. 'Fletcher Moss Park' is the latest installment to document his developing musical sensibilities, building upon the earlier 'On The Go' (2011), 'Colour Yes' (2009) and 'Sending My Love' (2008).
'Cherry Blossom' opens with shimmering and swirling harp notes (Rachael Gladwin), lightly joined by caressing piano (Adam Fairhall), before the rising (and affirmative) trumpet emerges, issuing a call before retreating to allow a slowly progressive sway to take hold. Halsall's playing here is reminiscent of Miles Davis, with his often muted playing gently embracing the music around him. The musical space created is shared with his fellow players, creating a distinctly laid back vibe in which the listener can simply wallow. The title track 'Fletcher Moss Park' continues in a similar vein, again featuring the harp, before the bass (Gavin Barras) signals the descending and rising groove upon which to play. Again Halsall's playing is restrained, confident, yet never shouting for attention, reflected in the beautifully highlighted (and shared) solo playing. 'Mary Emma Louise' swings warmly, driven largely by the insistent playing of Gaz Hughes on drums. 'Sailing Out To Sea' is a short elegiac piece (less than two minutes), featuring cello (Adrianne Winnisky) and violin (Davinder Singh), quickly followed by 'Wee Lan (Little Orchid)', with broad string playing flowing over a sharply plucked musical edging. 'Sun In September' sounds (quite subjectively) part of a musical triptych (begun by 'Sailing Out To Sea'), with the alternative sonic soundscape extending far beyond Manchester. The set ends with 'Finding My Way', returning to a far more traditional articulation, yet hinting at the space occupied by Drum & Bass (largely suggested by the drum phrasing).
So. Do you buy?
Recorded in April and June 2010 this is a relatively short set, length substituted by a concentrated lyricism, with Halsall settling in to short phrasing where notes are never wasted. The feel is light and airy, suggestive of a warm hazy Summer's evening shared with friends. Being rhythmically driven isn't the concern here, instead your ears are presented with a meditative and contemplative reflection in sound, an understated elegance of expression.
One to savor with repeated rewards.
on 29 November 2013
I bought this album upon recommendation from a friend. It's not quite my (bop-inspired) cup of tea; nevertheless, the front line is stylish and well integrated. The backing of saxophone, violins and cello sounds classically trained, thus modifying any attempt at swing to a lilt. Clearly a concept album, the overall delivery adds up to a whole that will appeal to anyone seeking well-structured themes presented in comfortable surroundings. If this sounds like faint praise, it is my loss.
on 10 July 2013
This album is the most mellow and chilled set of instrumental work I have heard... probably ever!
There is an oriental feel to the backing on some of the tracks, complimented wonderfully by the trumpet.
Matthew Halsall's trumpet playing is precise and spare, he doesn't waste a single note. There is no technical showing off for its own sake, just some beutiful tunes and harmonious solos.
The highlight of the album for me is 'The Sun in September' which features a flute solo by Lisa Mallett played on bansuri or a similar bamboo instrument from the mellow sound and the way she can bend the tones. It was hearing this on Jazz FM that sent me searching for the album in the first place.
Don't waste any more time reading reviews, just buy the album and enjoy.
on 8 November 2012
Fletcher Moss Park it's about 40 minutes of enjoyable walk in piece, between trees shaped by autumns light.
Saxophone, suddenly you can feel how sound drops are falling lightly from the sky and you can predict easily that something beautiful must grow here.
And they come... Harp, piano, flute, cello, bass, drums, saxophone and trumpet, so wide. Range of colours and smells to absorb.
Halsall is creating not only great rhythms but also rich, melodic contemporary jazz, spiritual for those seeking for harmony and light.