Vertigo should be considered as an enterprising new group that promises to challenge convention and Costello as he looks to further the work begun here.

Elsden Music

Julian Costello (tenor & soprano saxophones); Natalie Rozario (cello); Stefanos Tsourelis (guitar & oud); Sophie Alloway (drums) with guests Iqbal Pathan (tabla); David Beebee (double bass)

Two albums in quick succession from Julian Costello with this new release following hot on the heels of And All The Birds Were Set Free on 33jazz just a couple of months ago, with both featuring contrasting settings in which to place his increasingly individual saxophone sound. In addition, both albums find Costello stretching himself as a composer, and none more so than with Vertigo.

If previous albums have seen Costello distilling his highly melodic compositions through a traditional quartet line up, here the saxophonist seeks a new sonic palette and conjures up a marvellously fresh and open sound world. Space is integral to the music performed with Vertigo and with Natalie Rozario’s wonderful cello playing and guitarist Stefanos Tsourelis’s ability to colour and shade the music as well as playing some magnificent solos brings a new backdrop that seemingly allows Costello to pace and phrase his solos in a new light.

Contributing greatly to this new sound world that Costello is creating around himself is the delicate tabla playing of Iqbal Pathan whose work on ‘Stonehenge’ alongside Tsourelis (this time on oud) is a delight and provides a perfect setting for the leader’s soprano.

Rhythm and its subtle use also play an important part of the music. Sophie Alloway’s drum intro to the opening ‘Sorry But No’ is pure genius and sets the music up perfectly for what is to follow. This is sensitive and deeply melodic jazz that allows all the instruments to speak in a beautifully arrange composition. In fact, the tune is so good it makes a welcome reprise to close the album.

In between these two tracks are further ten of Costello’s fine compositions all with a different approach but remaining true to the sound that this fine ensemble conjures up as if from nowhere. Natalie Rozario’s cello blends seamlessly with the leader’s soprano and tenor to create two beautiful lead voices and this is not lost on the saxophonist who finds ways incorporate the sounds of the instruments in interesting ways.

Soprano, oud and tabla join together joyously on ‘Stonehenge’ while Rozario and Tsourelis create the atmospheric introduction to ‘The Whale’. ‘Still Water’ captures Costello’s big and expressive tenor sound accompanied once again by oud; and the sonorities of the cello are once again brought to the fore on ‘Look At Yourself With A Smile’.

Never one to waste a good melody, Costello delivers up another helping of ‘Why’ that was so beautifully sung by Georgia Mancio on And All The Birds Were Set Free in an instrumental version that is just as compelling.

Two distinctly different albums from Julian Costello, and if And All The Birds can be seen a continuation and development of his previous output, Vertigo should be considered as an enterprising new group that promises to challenge convention and Costello as he looks to further the work begun here.