Losen Records LOS 290-2

Adam Parry-Davies: piano; Patrick Case: synth, guitar, programming; Gary Alesbrook, Nick Malcolm, David Adewumi, Mike Rodriguez: trumpet; James Morton: alto sax; Sam Shotaka, James Carter: tenor sax; Jim Barr, Kaisa Mäensivu, Pasquale Votino: double bass; Otto Hashmi, Alex Hutchings: electric bass; Jared Schonig, Justin Brown: drums

Recorded between September 2022 to July 2023 by Patrick Case who recorded Adam’s piano on location at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Gary Alesbrook’s and Nick Malcolm’s trumpet, James Morton’s and Sam Shotaka’s saxophones, Jim Barr’s, and Pasquale Votino’s double basses, Otto Hashmi’s and Alex Hutchings’ electric bass at the Operating Theatre in Bristol, UK. Brian Bender recorded Justin Brown’s drums at The Motherbrain, Los Angeles, USA. Alex Conroy recorded James Carter’s saxophone, Mike Rodriguez’s and David Adewumi’s trumpet, Kaisa Mäensivu’s double bass and Jared Schonig’s drums at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, New York, USA

One of the (very) small consolations of Covid-19 was the ways in which the musicians in different locations recorded and shared their music. Of course, this was something that had been happening for a decade or two, but it felt as if the pandemic had been the necessity which birthed the invention of widespread acceptance of this as a practice. I’m sure there is a thesis being prepared on this somewhere as I write. But, as a case in point, look at the recording details at the head of the review.

Of course, for Parry-Davies and Case this is a process that they have been using on their previous albums where recordings in Birmingham or Bristol are taken to New York for additional musicians to record their parts and in the various mixings and remixings, an alchemical process occurs in which the sounds combine. What is, for someone, like me, unfamiliar with the process of combining separate recordings, difficult to fathom, is how warmly integrated the playing sounds.

Each tune has the bittersweet emotional rollercoaster of a romcom and the visual clarity of a movie. The ‘pitch’ in the album’s title could be the short summary that a screenwriter gives to someone who might bankroll the movie. The narrative sketch conveys enough emotional heft to draw you in but leaves space to be filled by your own visions and feelings. In like manner, the tunes in this set, introduce and develop stories over their 4 minute or so playing time. Each is a very different story, and at the end of each, the listener is still coming to terms with the ending. This is one of those few albums where longer pauses between tunes would have helped us listeners catch our breath and prepare for the next tune. As an example, ‘Ristrophe’, track 4, features Case’s guitar in homage to Charlie Christian (in the brightness of tone and clarity of attack more than the tune itself) and, despite the lightness of the tune, there is an almost unbearable sadness to this elegy to a jazz pioneer who died in poverty and in an unmarked grave.