If you like your jazz very slow, melodic and peaceful, this one is for you.
Ewan Bleach (ts, ss, cl); Colin Wood (p); Jim Ydstie (b ); Joh Kelly, Martin Wheatley (g).
Recorded Alice’s Loft, location not listed. January 2019 & January 2020.
Reed player Bleach has worked with the New Orleans Band Tuba Skinny and the Cable Street Rag Band in London. He cites his inspirations as Sidney Bechet and Lester young and is committed to early jazz and ragtime. The Bechet influence is well documented on his new CD. There’s not so much Lester that I can detect but plenty of Coleman Hawkins. First up here is a sturdy version of ‘Body And Soul’ complete with the verse, as are all the selections here.
Played on tenor sax the lines are big, solid and chunky. On ‘Deep Purple,’ Mr. Bleach plays soprano and even indulges in some Bechet vibrato towards the end. ‘Memories Of You’ is done on clarinet but much slower than Benny Goodman did it, if he was the inspiration for this one. ‘You And The Night’n The Music .’ has the bass player lay out so with no drummer present this is a rather thin reading. Guitar and piano support sympathetically though.
‘Si Tu Vois Ma Mere,’ is played very much in the Bechet fashion but Ewan drops the heavy vibrato this time. Good soprano tone. The press release for this album says that Bleach planned this CD for people to ‘melt in your chair at the end of a hard day, mellow and soothing, but not without moments of pathos and passion.’ Well, soothing maybe. Mellow too but by the time we get to ‘When I grow Too Old To Dream,’ the slow tempo, following that pattern on every selection, could induce sleepiness as well.
And it’s so relaxed throughout that I missed any pathos or passion. Half way through this recital I wanted to pick up ‘Prelude,’ by the scruff of its neck and swing it hard. Overall all compositions are very well played by some fine musicians but the slow tempo on all selections is just too much. A good drummer might have injected some needed life and swing into the proceedings, but there wasn’t one. If you like your jazz very slow, melodic and peaceful though, this one is for you.
Reviewed by Derek Ansell