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Yatra

Yatra

24 Sep 2012
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 24 Sept. 2012
  • Release Date: 8 Oct. 2012
  • Label: Edition Records
  • Copyright: 2012 Edition Records
  • Total Length: 48:17
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B009CXUMWC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,039 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Ivo Neame has come to prominence in Phronesis with their critically-acclaimed albums and exciting live performances. He is joined here by bassist Jasper Høiby, but apart from that, there is very little similarity to the other group.

This is an 8-Piece ensemble with an unusual frontline that contains two saxes (one doubling on flute) and two clarinets - although one is of the bass variety, with its throatier textures much to the fore.

Each of the 9 original tunes here, has tight arrangements for this unusual combination of instruments - with the Vibes of Jim Hart adding further colour. Each tune is relatively brief for Jazz - at most about 5 to 6 minutes and the compositions all have well-written harmonies and interesting rhythms.

There are some nice tunes and each of the participants is given the chance to solo at some point - although given the size of the ensemble, not everybody on every tune. This makes for great variety throughout the album, as each member of the group brings their personality to different tunes - clarinets to the fore on some tunes, then flute, then Vibes and so on.

In some ways this makes it difficult to assess the album on first hearing and it requires a few listens to makes sense of all that is going on. But the core rhythm section of piano/bass/drums are solid and give stability to the proceedings.

Overall a very nice debut with a lot to recommend it and it should appeal to others than Jazz fans. This shows the vibrancy of the UK Jazz scene and the riches of talent in our own backyard.
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Yatra is Ivo Neame's latest work on Edition Records. Yatra means pilgrimage or journey, the perfect word to describe a musician's search for his own voice. We have waited quite a while for this album as Ivo's last in his own name was 2009, Caught in the Light of Day. I am more used to seeing Ivo in smaller bands - with Phronesis, Josh Arcoleo, Kairos 4Tet and Marius Neset's Golden Xplosion so a work with eight musicians (and no standards to call on) felt on the face of it, well, rather audacious, risky and brave.

But having seen Ivo's Octet on stage twice - first in February this year in the Purcell Room and then more recently in the sympathetic environment of Kings Place, the word audacious is wrong - it wasn't risky at all, it feels very natural now. In February I thought "There are moments of genius in this, what a lovely complex sound but I can still follow it"; in March I heard Ivo's quintet in Sherborne and listened to the buzz afterwards ("That was the best gig we've had in Sherborne for ages"); and recently I thought "Wow, this has grown up a lot".

Yatra consists of nine tracks, all by Ivo, with band members listed below. The most obvious point of connection to his 2009 quartet is Jim Hart on vibes and Jasper Høiby on bass, providing the solid foundation on which to add the new layer of four reeds and an accordion. The result is an explosion of colour and texture, richness and depth. The reeds add a romantic layer which combined with vibes give it a very beautiful sound best heard on Heart Murmurs.

All the tracks stand alone but my favourite is That Syncing Feeling. It has the loveliest, achingly subtle melody on clarinet, a purring gently bouncing bass and sparce piano setting the tone. The reeds section is at its most sublime, serene and cool.
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Format: Audio CD
SINCE the release of this outstanding album a couple of weeks ago, I have purposely held back (until now) from publishing any kind of review - indeed, this may not be what I would write a month, or even a year, from now! Why? Because `Yatra', translated as `journey', is very much that - a fascinating and varied sequence of originals which gradually, on closer examination and repeated listening, reveals the intricacies and ingenuity of its writing, arranging and playing.

Ivo Neame's profile and reputation has undoubtedly and unsurprisingly risen to great heights - now firmly established as a leading pianist on the UK contemporary jazz circuit with his distinctive, individual voice being a key element in the sound of Phronesis, Kairos 4tet and many others. This third album of Neame's demonstrates his skill as leader, and in writing for eight parts, with a star-studded line-up which includes the superb bassist Jasper Høiby, much-in-demand Jim Hart on vibes, and a dazzling quartet of free-thinking reeds players including the talented Jason Yarde and Shabaka Hutchings. The diversity possible within this collective takes us from jazz quartet almost to big band, with some superlative soloing, too - and, seeing them perform numbers from this album recently, at Kings Place, London, confirms the live experience to be at least, if not more, as enthralling.

The title track sets the pace for the album's intoxicating energy and bustle, with its complex rhythms, led by Neame's always-authoritative piano style, plus characteristic sparkle from Hart's vibes. Halfway through, the wind quartet breaks off for a great `conversation' of their own - written or improvised, it's lovely stuff!
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