Nathan Haines: Vermillion Skies (Warner)

 |   |  1 min read

Nathan Haines: Lady Lywa
Nathan Haines: Vermillion Skies (Warner)

Following his highly successful, back-to-origins Sixties-framed album The Poet's Embrace, saxophonist Nathan Haines here not only continues in a similar vein but expands the parameters of his writing (the ballad Lady Lywa is instantly memorable and a real highpoint of economy and craftsmanship) and works with a large ensemble on a stately reworking and expansion of JJ Johnson's midnight ballad Lament, arranged and conducted by Wayne Senior.

Personally I've never been persuaded by some of Haines' vocal pieces (and the rather anemic First Light here doesn't do it for me) but the slinky Navarino Street finds him in excellent voice and the arrangement for horns is cleverly supportive of the lyrics which nod and wink at cool hipsters. The piano solo by Kevin Field confirms again that he can turn his hand to just about any idiom in jazz.

Good also to hear brother Joel's distinctive guitar in a few places here. 

Some found The Poet's Embrace a little tame (I didn't, I thought it was exactly the album he should have made) and I've no doubt some of the same comments might be made about this because of the high ballad quotient (and those vocal tracks). But this is often swinging, sophisticated band music (check Five Dimensions which peels off from early classic Brubeck) where restraint and economy is part of the contract.

That said, we might also hope that he really pushes himself the next time out -- as he edges towards on Frontier West -- otherwise the momentum will feel like it is being lost.

Again this is short (two sides of vinyl again, perhaps?) and firmly within a tradition (in a cover which evokes the classic Blue Note period, sans cigarette). But Haines and his fellow players haven't fallen for the old neo-con trap and have delivered something that, while erring towards the pleasant in places, creates a contemporary niche for itself.

As with The Poets Embrace, these tunes will doubtless brush up much more vigorous and gutsy live.

And he's playing around the country in the next week or so. See here for dates

Share It

Your Comments

angelaS - Jun 10, 2013

Really enjoying this. I have possibly heard some of the tracks live a while ago but still enjoyable.

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

JOHN COLTRANE'S LOST ALBUM (2018): Four guys walk into a studio in New Jersey . . .

JOHN COLTRANE'S LOST ALBUM (2018): Four guys walk into a studio in New Jersey . . .

In the half century since his death (in 1967), the music of John Coltrane has inspired, charmed and challenged musicians, jazz aficionados and even worked its way into the language of hip-hop and... > Read more

Wynton Marsalis: He and She (Blue Note/EMI)

Wynton Marsalis: He and She (Blue Note/EMI)

It must be difficult being Wynton Marsalis, having done it all (at least if you consider "all" being going backwards through jazz pre-Sixties and bringing the music to the current... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials: Jump Start (Alligator)

Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials: Jump Start (Alligator)

When Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator Records in Chicago 40 years ago it was to release albums by the likes of Hound Dog Taylor and Albert Collins who were burning up local clubs with their... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Danny McCrum

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Danny McCrum

New Zealand's Danny McCrum is one of those serial musicians: it's just what he does and he keeps on doing it. And at Elsewhere that is an admirable quality, especially when -- if like McCrum -- you... > Read more