He is touring this album now, so do yourself a favour and seek him out.

Edition Records: EDN1209

Matt Carmichael: Tenor Saxophone; Fergus McCreadie: Piano; Charlie Stewart: Fiddle; Ali Watson: Double Bass; Tom Potter: Drums

Recorded 19th and 20th October 2021 by Garry Boyle at Castlesound Studios, Pencaitland.

Seeing a ‘fiddle’ listed as one of the instruments on this album (even before you hear Stewart’s excellent playing) gives a hint of what might you are about to hear. What you might not be prepared for is the manner in which Carmichael’s rich tenor playing seamlessly hops between jazz and folk, harmonically, rhythmically, and philosophically.

By the latter I mean that ability to conjure up a set of musical traditions and ideas through the phrasing of a single line. Carmichael draws on his native Scotland as inspiration for these pieces. ‘Much like the Scottish coastline, I want my music to have drama, to evoke an emotional response, with an openness to explore, to transport the listener away from everyday life, even just for a moment’.

The titles of the tunes present a journey of sorts from ‘The road to the sea’ (track 3) through the ‘Marram’ grasses that grow at the edge of the beach, track 5, and the ‘Dune’, track 2, before reaching the ‘Waves’, track 4, and looking to the ‘Horizon’, track 6, for ‘The far away ones’, track 1, and waiting ‘On the gloaming shore’, tracks 8 and 9, in expectation that ‘There will be better days’, track 7.

Reordering the titles to make a narrative only partially hints at the stories that each tune tells. Following his debut album, ‘Where the waters flow’, this also takes the movement of water is both a metaphor for musical style and a philosophy of life that responds openly to opportunities and ideas. No wonder that Carmichael shines brightly on the Glasgow jazz scene. He is touring this album now, so do yourself a favour and seek him out.

Reviewed by Chris Baber