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Indigo Kid - III; Moment Gone in the Clouds Rating: 3-5 out of 5 Another fascinating chapter in the Indigo Kid story with a new line up led by guitarist and composer Dan Messore.

Indigo Kid

“III: Moment Gone in the Clouds”

Babel Records BDV16141)

“Moment Gone in the Clouds” is the third album in the “Indigo Kid” series from guitarist and composer Dan Messore.

“Indigo Kid”, the exceptional 2012 début established Indigo Kid as a band name and featured Messore leading a quartet that included a rhythm section of bassist Tim Harries and drummer Gethin Jones together with Messore’s former tutor and mentor Iain Ballamy on tenor saxophone. The presence of Ballamy ensured that the album garnered a good deal of attention and a substantial amount of critical acclaim.

The success of the début saw Messore putting a touring version of Indigo Kid together and I was privileged to cover a performance of the group at the 2012 Brecon Jazz Festival, the line up on that occasion consisting of Messore in the company of saxophonist Trish Clowes, bassist Calum Gourlay and the vastly experienced drummer Martin France.

The second Indigo Kid album “Fist Full of Notes” appeared in 2015 and featured a line up of Harries, Clowes and France with Ballamy guesting on tenor on two of the ten tracks. Again the recording was well received by both the jazz press and jazz public alike.

Away from Indigo Kid Messore has also led the quintet Lacuna featuring Steve Waterman (trumpet, flugelhorn), Lee Goodall (reeds), Aidan Thorne (bass) and Ollie Howell (drums). This line up released the album “Talk On The Step” on the Babel label in 2012. He has also been part of the organ trio Kindling featuring keyboard player Joe Webb and drummer Gethin Jones.

Messore’s playing has also featured in the groups Duski and Trust Trio, both led by Aidan Thorne, and with the Bristol based electro-jazz outfit Michelson Morley, led by Get The Blessing saxophonist Jake McMurchie.

He has also worked with the vocal trio Sky Barkers, the “grunge folk” ensemble Little Arrow and guested with the improvising baritone saxophonist (and record label owner) George Haslam.

Messore graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2006 and has subsequently divided his time between Wales, the West Country and London. He has co-ordinated the View from the Tower series at London’s Vortex Jazz Club, a Sunday afternoon residency highlighting the music of British jazz composers and featuring a pool of musicians including Clowes, Waterman, saxophonist Joe Wright, trumpeter Freddie Gavita, bassist Tom Farmer, flautist Gareth Lockrane and pianist Elliot Galvin.

Messore has also travelled widely and spent a substantial amount of time in Costa Rica, an experience that helped to shape the writing on the “Fist Full of Notes” album. He also has a deep love of Brazilian music, as evidenced by several pieces on the début Lacuna album.

For his third outing in his Indigo Kid guise Messore has assembled a brand new line up, albeit one featuring a number of old acquaintances. Flute replaces saxophone alongside Messore in the front line with Gareth Lockrane bringing his vast experience to the band.  Calum Gourlay returns in the bass chair while the drum berth is taken over by the widely experienced and highly accomplished Tim Giles.

The presence of Lockrane on flute gives this edition of Indigo Kid a softer focus and it’s tempting to regard this third version of the band as occupying a space somewhere between the first two versions of the band and the quintet Lacuna.

The engaging opener “Cony Sin” begins in breezy fashion with the sounds of Lockrane’s frothy flute and Giles’ nimble inventive drumming with its hints of Latin rhythms. But in a multi-faceted piece of writing Messore and his colleagues embrace a variety of moods, style and dynamics. There are more reflective episodes that recall the Americana of Metheny or Frisell as the cool elegance of the leader’s guitar contrasts effectively with the breeziness of Lockrane’s flute as Gourlay and Giles provide sympathetic but consistently inventive and colourful support.

“Deconstruction Of The City” highlights a darker side of the band with its insistent 6/8 rhythms, heavier guitar sound and vocalised flute. Once more Messore and Lockrane combine effectively, again making intelligent use of colour and contrast as the rhythm team generate suitably effusive support.

“Earnestly” begins with a passage of unaccompanied guitar before evolving into the kind of gorgeously melodic piece that Metheny would be proud of. There’s a genuine warmth about the playing of Messore and Lockrane and an almost folk like simplicity that hints at the music of both South Africa and South America. There’s a brief cameo from Gourlay as his melodic bass temporarily assumes the lead while Giles provides colourful but sensitive and intelligent drum commentary.

It’s Giles who introduces the appropriately buoyant and breezy “I’ve Decided To Sail” and his percussion is prominent in the mix almost throughout as he exchanges ideas with both Lockrane and Messore, the guitarist’s nimble runs harking back to the bebop tradition, but within a wholly contemporary framework. Giles is exceptional throughout the album, sharp eared and sure footed, always busy, colourful and inventive, but never intrusive. In a highly interactive performance he always seems to find just the right thing to play.

“Little House” finds Messore and Lockrane intertwining in charming fashion on another delightfully melodic composition. Again there’s a genuine warmth about the playing, something that also finds voice in the beautifully melodic double bass solo from Gourlay. Messore’s own solo is a delight, again evoking those comparisons with Metheny and Frisell.

The title track features an opening statement from Lockrane, the UK’s premier jazz flautist, followed by a subtly probing guitar solo from the leader that mixes flowing single note melody lines with the effective and intelligent use of chording. A typically tuneful and dexterous bass solo follows from Gourlay, with Lockrane picking up on the bassist’s melody and using it as the launch point for his own solo, his flute gradually spiralling up into the clouds of the title before the piece resolves itself with a long, slow fade that pushes the music into more impressionistic, almost ambient territory.

As its title might suggest “Monsoon” is the most energetic track thus far with its energetic grooves framing a taut guitar solo from Messore, whose playing is an effective amalgam of power, intensity and intelligence. Lockrane’s effervescent flute again offers an effective contrast and the piece also includes a colourful and inventive drum feature from the consistently excellent Giles.

I’m not sure who the final track, “Mr. Burton”, is named for – I’d like to think it’s vibraphonist Gary. The music certainly suggests this with its lithe, boppish melody lines and buoyant, perky rhythms. Giles’ military style snare and Messore’s agile chording help to propel Lockrane’s lively flute melodies. There’s an appropriately nimble guitar solo from Messore himself prior to a final set of exchanges featuring Lockrane and Giles on another of the album’s most energetic and vivacious pieces.

“Moment Gone in the Clouds” represents another fascinating chapter in the Indigo Kid story. The presence of flute rather than saxophones makes for a very different sound to that of the first two releases and it’s possible that some listeners may find it all a little too polite and bloodless.

Nevertheless there is still much to enjoy here with Messore again delivering an absorbing set of compositions. The playing from all four musicians is excellent throughout with Messore and Lockrane combining effectively in a highly co-operative, ego-less display. Gourlay is a consummate anchor and an excellent melodic bass soloist while Giles turns in an excellent display behind the kit, his playing is consistently inventive and stimulating.

If I’m totally honest I probably prefer the more robust sound of the first two albums but you wouldn’t expect -or want- a jazz musician to keep on making the same record would you? Indigo Kid is still a name to watch out for.

III; Moment Gone in the Clouds

Indigo Kid

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Album Review

3-5 out of 5

III; Moment Gone in the Clouds

Another fascinating chapter in the Indigo Kid story with a new line up led by guitarist and composer Dan Messore.

Indigo Kid

“III: Moment Gone in the Clouds”

Babel Records BDV16141)

“Moment Gone in the Clouds” is the third album in the “Indigo Kid” series from guitarist and composer Dan Messore.

“Indigo Kid”, the exceptional 2012 début established Indigo Kid as a band name and featured Messore leading a quartet that included a rhythm section of bassist Tim Harries and drummer Gethin Jones together with Messore’s former tutor and mentor Iain Ballamy on tenor saxophone. The presence of Ballamy ensured that the album garnered a good deal of attention and a substantial amount of critical acclaim.

The success of the début saw Messore putting a touring version of Indigo Kid together and I was privileged to cover a performance of the group at the 2012 Brecon Jazz Festival, the line up on that occasion consisting of Messore in the company of saxophonist Trish Clowes, bassist Calum Gourlay and the vastly experienced drummer Martin France.

The second Indigo Kid album “Fist Full of Notes” appeared in 2015 and featured a line up of Harries, Clowes and France with Ballamy guesting on tenor on two of the ten tracks. Again the recording was well received by both the jazz press and jazz public alike.

Away from Indigo Kid Messore has also led the quintet Lacuna featuring Steve Waterman (trumpet, flugelhorn), Lee Goodall (reeds), Aidan Thorne (bass) and Ollie Howell (drums). This line up released the album “Talk On The Step” on the Babel label in 2012. He has also been part of the organ trio Kindling featuring keyboard player Joe Webb and drummer Gethin Jones.

Messore’s playing has also featured in the groups Duski and Trust Trio, both led by Aidan Thorne, and with the Bristol based electro-jazz outfit Michelson Morley, led by Get The Blessing saxophonist Jake McMurchie.

He has also worked with the vocal trio Sky Barkers, the “grunge folk” ensemble Little Arrow and guested with the improvising baritone saxophonist (and record label owner) George Haslam.

Messore graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2006 and has subsequently divided his time between Wales, the West Country and London. He has co-ordinated the View from the Tower series at London’s Vortex Jazz Club, a Sunday afternoon residency highlighting the music of British jazz composers and featuring a pool of musicians including Clowes, Waterman, saxophonist Joe Wright, trumpeter Freddie Gavita, bassist Tom Farmer, flautist Gareth Lockrane and pianist Elliot Galvin.

Messore has also travelled widely and spent a substantial amount of time in Costa Rica, an experience that helped to shape the writing on the “Fist Full of Notes” album. He also has a deep love of Brazilian music, as evidenced by several pieces on the début Lacuna album.

For his third outing in his Indigo Kid guise Messore has assembled a brand new line up, albeit one featuring a number of old acquaintances. Flute replaces saxophone alongside Messore in the front line with Gareth Lockrane bringing his vast experience to the band.  Calum Gourlay returns in the bass chair while the drum berth is taken over by the widely experienced and highly accomplished Tim Giles.

The presence of Lockrane on flute gives this edition of Indigo Kid a softer focus and it’s tempting to regard this third version of the band as occupying a space somewhere between the first two versions of the band and the quintet Lacuna.

The engaging opener “Cony Sin” begins in breezy fashion with the sounds of Lockrane’s frothy flute and Giles’ nimble inventive drumming with its hints of Latin rhythms. But in a multi-faceted piece of writing Messore and his colleagues embrace a variety of moods, style and dynamics. There are more reflective episodes that recall the Americana of Metheny or Frisell as the cool elegance of the leader’s guitar contrasts effectively with the breeziness of Lockrane’s flute as Gourlay and Giles provide sympathetic but consistently inventive and colourful support.

“Deconstruction Of The City” highlights a darker side of the band with its insistent 6/8 rhythms, heavier guitar sound and vocalised flute. Once more Messore and Lockrane combine effectively, again making intelligent use of colour and contrast as the rhythm team generate suitably effusive support.

“Earnestly” begins with a passage of unaccompanied guitar before evolving into the kind of gorgeously melodic piece that Metheny would be proud of. There’s a genuine warmth about the playing of Messore and Lockrane and an almost folk like simplicity that hints at the music of both South Africa and South America. There’s a brief cameo from Gourlay as his melodic bass temporarily assumes the lead while Giles provides colourful but sensitive and intelligent drum commentary.

It’s Giles who introduces the appropriately buoyant and breezy “I’ve Decided To Sail” and his percussion is prominent in the mix almost throughout as he exchanges ideas with both Lockrane and Messore, the guitarist’s nimble runs harking back to the bebop tradition, but within a wholly contemporary framework. Giles is exceptional throughout the album, sharp eared and sure footed, always busy, colourful and inventive, but never intrusive. In a highly interactive performance he always seems to find just the right thing to play.

“Little House” finds Messore and Lockrane intertwining in charming fashion on another delightfully melodic composition. Again there’s a genuine warmth about the playing, something that also finds voice in the beautifully melodic double bass solo from Gourlay. Messore’s own solo is a delight, again evoking those comparisons with Metheny and Frisell.

The title track features an opening statement from Lockrane, the UK’s premier jazz flautist, followed by a subtly probing guitar solo from the leader that mixes flowing single note melody lines with the effective and intelligent use of chording. A typically tuneful and dexterous bass solo follows from Gourlay, with Lockrane picking up on the bassist’s melody and using it as the launch point for his own solo, his flute gradually spiralling up into the clouds of the title before the piece resolves itself with a long, slow fade that pushes the music into more impressionistic, almost ambient territory.

As its title might suggest “Monsoon” is the most energetic track thus far with its energetic grooves framing a taut guitar solo from Messore, whose playing is an effective amalgam of power, intensity and intelligence. Lockrane’s effervescent flute again offers an effective contrast and the piece also includes a colourful and inventive drum feature from the consistently excellent Giles.

I’m not sure who the final track, “Mr. Burton”, is named for – I’d like to think it’s vibraphonist Gary. The music certainly suggests this with its lithe, boppish melody lines and buoyant, perky rhythms. Giles’ military style snare and Messore’s agile chording help to propel Lockrane’s lively flute melodies. There’s an appropriately nimble guitar solo from Messore himself prior to a final set of exchanges featuring Lockrane and Giles on another of the album’s most energetic and vivacious pieces.

“Moment Gone in the Clouds” represents another fascinating chapter in the Indigo Kid story. The presence of flute rather than saxophones makes for a very different sound to that of the first two releases and it’s possible that some listeners may find it all a little too polite and bloodless.

Nevertheless there is still much to enjoy here with Messore again delivering an absorbing set of compositions. The playing from all four musicians is excellent throughout with Messore and Lockrane combining effectively in a highly co-operative, ego-less display. Gourlay is a consummate anchor and an excellent melodic bass soloist while Giles turns in an excellent display behind the kit, his playing is consistently inventive and stimulating.

If I’m totally honest I probably prefer the more robust sound of the first two albums but you wouldn’t expect -or want- a jazz musician to keep on making the same record would you? Indigo Kid is still a name to watch out for.


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