Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Here with pianist Gwilym Simcock and percussion player Asaf Sirkis, plus the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the impressive genre-defying jazz-classical/Third Stream suite (the four-part Frontiers, which also features guitarist Paul Bollenback), this hot British saxophonist (and bass clarinetist) once more proves that he is the vanguard of a crossover music that should appeal to jazz and classical listeners alike.
His clarinet tone is deep, woody and sometimes stentorian, his saxophones fly and flutter or dig deep in the approved post-Coltrane manner. And in Simcock whose adventurous playing, nudging towards the free in places, he finds his equal and a sympathetic counterpoint.
A double set divided into "Sun" and "Moon", the second disc offers some standards (Blue in Green with a lovely late night New York clubland feel, Sly Eyes in a slippery and joyful version) but the real treat, among many it must be said, is Frontier which is dedicated to Gunther Schuller -- and that gives you your frame of musical reference.
An ambitious album which works the diffficult area between trio playing and orchestration, jazz and classical, Libra is a triumphant, mercurial album which confirms the status of these players in the frontline of British, and world, jazz -- and offers as much fiery playing as quiet and considered reflection.