Review: Alex Garnett - Andromeda




ALEX GARNETT’S BUNCH OF FIVE
ANDROMEDA 

So Long!; Charlie’s World; Andromeda; Delusions Of Grandma; Early Autumn; Her Tears; Holmes; I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (60.41)
Alex Garnett, Tim Armacost (ts); Liam Noble (p); Michael Janisch (b); James Maddren (d). London, 25 Nov 2013.
Whirlwind 4664
****

This is the second leader-release from London-based saxophonist Alex Garnett and the first for his Bunch of Five, the band that sets out to reboot the time-honoured two-tenor joust. The emphasis is on swing and groove while leaving space for some contemporary surprises. The Five consists of Garnett himself, a second tenor, Armacost, and a more than useful rhythm section led by Liam Noble. Six originals show Garnett’s skill at producing lines for improvising that are also listenable as themes. Andromeda, Alex tells us, is a comet, hurtling towards us on a fatal collision course but as she has been coming along for millennia, she’s a wee bit late arriving!

All the songs have some personal meaning or interest for the leader. Early Autumn is his nod to an old favourite, Stan Getz, and this is a warm and melodic version that is Alec’s own. I’ve Got My Love is a bright swinger. The opening track So Long is the best for comparison between the two robust tenors; they have a lot in common and their exchanges here point that up. The rhythm section provide a challenging but effective backdrop for the tenor men. Delusions Of Grandma is a hard uptempo swinger with both sax men blowing up a storm and proving the subject to be a fast and furious old lady.

The two standards prove good choices for blowing; one slow and sumptuous, the other an uptempo romp. Garnett is the lighter sounding tenor, the NYC-based Armacost slightly harder and boppish and they complement each other well. It is in effect a very good partnership in the tradition of Griffin and Davis or Ammons and Stitt, likely to appeal to all followers of those masters. More details at Whirlwind.
Derek Ansell


This is one of 81 reviews in the current edition of Jazz Journal. Subscribe to our print edition to see the full array of reviews and much more, monthly.


Relax with the luxurious print edition of Jazz Journal and enjoy more jazz news, reviews, features and debate.


post a comment