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Pavillon - The Freedom of Movement Rating: 4 out of 5 Another impressive offering from Pavillon. Rattigan’s compositions and arrangements are rich, colourful and inventive and the playing, by a hand picked ensemble, is exceptional throughout.

Jim Rattigan’s Pavillon

“The Freedom of Movement”

(Three Worlds Records)


Jim Rattigan is the UK’s best known jazz French horn player. He is a busy musician who is the first call on his instrument across a variety of genres including jazz, folk, pop, classical and film and TV soundtracks. The latter include the James Bond and Lord of the Rings film series.

His list of credits is mind boggling, far too lengthy to list in full here, but includes six years with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and other classical ensembles plus session work with some of the biggest names in rock and pop, among them Paul McCartney, George Michael and Adele. I know him best for his work in jazz ensembles including bands led by Mike Gibbs, Hans Koller, Mark Lockheart, Carla Bley, Percy Pursglove and the late, great Charlie Haden. And as he proved with Pursglove’s “Far Reaching Dreams of Mortal Souls” ensemble Rattigan is also a skilled accordionist.

In his capacity as a jazz musician Rattigan has released a number of albums under his own name including “Unfamiliar Guise” (2000), “Jazz French Horn” (2004), and “Shuzzed” (2010), the latter  recorded by a quartet featuring guitarist Phil Robson, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Gene Calderazzo.

In 2014 I reviewed his excellent trio set “Triplicity” which teamed him with the classical violinist Thomas Gould and the acclaimed jazz pianist Liam Noble. This was a chamber jazz recording that combined moments of pure beauty with an admirable improvisational rigour.
The full review can be read here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/jim-rattigan-thomas-gould-liam-noble-triplicity/

It was his work with Mike Gibbs that inspired Rattigan to form his own twelve piece band, Pavillon. The group name comes from ‘pavillon’, the French word for the bell of the French horn.

In 2011 Pavillon recorded the album “Strong Tea”, a release that was re-issued in 2016 to tie in with a national tour being undertaken by the ensemble.  My review of that recording can be seen here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/jim-rattigan-pavillon-strong-tea/


The 2016 tour included an EFG London Jazz Festival performance at The Vortex and Pavillon returned to the Festival the following year with an excellent lunchtime show at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street, Soho. I was lucky enough to be able to attend that event and my review of the performance can be read as part of my Festival coverage here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/features/article/efg-london-jazz-festival-sunday-november-12th-2017/


The Pavillon line up has, of necessity, been rather fluid over the years, although many of its members have been involved since the inception of the ensemble.

For “The Freedom of Movement” the current edition of Pavillon lines up as follows;

Jim Rattigan – French horn, composer

Martin Speake – alto sax

Andy Panayi – tenor sax

Mick Foster – baritone sax

Percy Pursglove – trumpet & flugelhorn

Steve Fishwick – trumpet

Robbie Robson – trumpet

Mark Nightingale – tenor trombone

Sarah Williams – bass trombone

Hans Koller – piano

Dave Whitford – double bass

Martin France -drums

Of this latest Pavillon recording Rattigan says;
“I chose the title ‘The Freedom of Movement’ to reflect my career, not only travelling the world performing but also moving between many different genres of music. The freedom to do both these things has always excited me as a musician and in all the truly wonderful experiences that I have had the highlight has undoubtedly been forming the group Pavillon. It is a joy to write for these amazing and creative musicians and I leave space in the compositions for creativity through improvisation. The music in the ‘Freedom of Movement’ is reflective at times, but also optimistic and, I hope, uplifting”.
Rattigan’s album notes also add insights into the inspirations and influences behind the individual compositions.

Opener “Timbuckthree” takes its title from a spot of banter between Rattigan and his then young son. Musically the piece references three 20th century classical themes, Richard Strauss’ horn concertos one and two and Ravel’s G major piano concerto. As Rattigan explains it Ravel was inspired by Gershwin, who in turn was inspired by black American music, i.e. jazz.
And this rousing introductory piece is undoubtedly a jazz performance, with the twelve piece ensemble making an impressively big sound with plenty of jazz and blues elements present in the music. Fluent solos come from Foster on baritone sax, Rattigan on French horn and Fishwick on trumpet. The leader plays the French horn with a remarkable degree of fluency, expressiveness and agility. In Rattigan’s hands the French horn becomes a thoroughly convincing vehicle for jazz soloing.

The title of “See You Suddenly” represents another example of Rattigan’s love of wordplay. This time the inspiration came from an eccentric bassoon player of Rattigan’s acquaintance, who would answer the more usual “See you later” with this phrase. Colourful horn voicings allied to a loping groove initially characterise this piece before things shift up a gear with Fishwick’s mercurial trumpet solo, delivered above a now furiously swinging groove. The energy levels are maintained on Panayi’s garrulous tenor solo, as the underlying rhythms and meters continue to mutate.

The inspiration behind “Oh Yeah Great, Thanks” is more serious than the title might suggest, as Rattigan explains; “The thought of a future generation living on a parched earth whilst embroiled in wars over water and looking back at past generations and saying “oh yeah great, thanks”.
Musically the piece is less angry than one might expect after reading the above. Instead it’s a bitter-sweet ballad with unexpectedly warm, lush textures and an underlying, if melancholic lyricism. Gently melodic solos come from Whitford at the bass, Koller on piano and Rattigan himself on French horn.

“Eclipse”, simply named after Rattigan witnessed a total eclipse, maintains something of the fragile mood and includes features from the same three soloists, whose playing again demonstrates those same lyrical qualities.

“Sweet Tamarind” was originally written by Rattigan for the “Triplicity” trio featuring Gould and Noble. Originally written as a Bill Evans inspired jazz waltz the piece becomes thoroughly transformed in this new arrangement for Pavillon. Where once it was “light and airy” it’s now a rousing ‘mini big band’ piece that here features ebullient solos from trombonist Mark Nightingale and the three trumpeters Pursglove, Fishwick and Robson, who relish their three way, nine valve tussle. Rattigan describes it all as “just a bit of fun”, which seems to sum it up pretty nicely.

As its title suggests the beautiful “Ballad Blue” is a blend of, in Rattigan’s words, “a gentle ballad…and a slow blues”. There’s a nocturnal feel about the arrangement with its muted brass, brushed drums and thoughtful, lyrical, gently unfolding solos from Speake on alto, Koller on piano, Robson on trumpet and the leader on French horn.

“Why Ask” is another old tune that Rattigan has re-arranged for the purpose of this recording. Delivered at a medium to fast tempo the arrangement is typically rich and colourful. Rattigan’s orchestrations routinely draw comparisons to those of such masters as Gil Evans and Mike Gibbs, and rightly so. The solos here include a seductively snaking alto excursion from Speake, a fruitier offering from Nightingale on trombone and the distinctive, fluent sounds of Pursglove on flugel.

Rattigan hails from the village of Houghton Regis near Luton and the closing “Crout’n Confusion” celebrates his roots. Another Luton native is the poet John Hegley who wrote a poem about “the town of his upbringing and the conflict between his working class origins and the middle class status conferred upon him by a university education”. One suspects that Rattigan may have gone through a similar identity crisis as he became assimilated into the classical music world. “I remember Luton, as I’m swallowing my crout’n” wrote Hegley, helping to provide Rattigan with his title.
This is a rumbustious but complex piece, initially constructed around a rollicking horn vamp, that includes expansive solos from Pursglove on trumpet and Speake on alto plus a drum feature from the consistently inventive France. The piece sounds as if it’s probably something of a challenge to play, but it’s still shot through with some of the humour inherent in its title and its source of inspiration.

It’s also France who ushers in the concluding title track, his atmospheric cymbal work establishing the mood of the piece, its gentle fanfares eventually paving the way for a thoughtful solo from Koller, with the group temporarily in piano trio mode, subsequently joined by Rattigan’s horn.
The final section sees the full ensemble return as the music takes on more of an anthemic quality.

“The Freedom of Movement” represents another impressive offering from Pavillon. Rattigan’s compositions and arrangements are rich, colourful and inventive and the playing, by a hand picked ensemble, is exceptional throughout. It’s a recording that wears its undoubted sophistication lightly, and which injects a little welcome humour at appropriate moments. Credit is also due to the production and engineering team of Rattigan, Peter Beckman and Alex Bonney for the warmth and quality of the mix.

Once again Rattigan makes the French horn a thoroughly convincing jazz solo instrument and “The Freedom of Movement” is 100% a jazz record, and an excellent one at that. In no way is this some kind of tepid jazz/classical crossover. The presence of such an all star jazz line up immediately dispels that idea.

Rattigan and Pavillon are currently touring the UK with forthcoming dates as follows;


2019;
15th October - Norwich Jazz Club
19th October - Jazz Café Posk, London (album launch)
5th November - Hastings Jazz Club
7th November - Birmingham East Side Jazz Club
22nd November - The Bear Club, Luton

17th January 2020 - Fleece Jazz at Stoke by Nayland, Colchester

 

The Freedom of Movement

Pavillon

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Album Review

4 out of 5

The Freedom of Movement

Another impressive offering from Pavillon. Rattigan’s compositions and arrangements are rich, colourful and inventive and the playing, by a hand picked ensemble, is exceptional throughout.

Jim Rattigan’s Pavillon

“The Freedom of Movement”

(Three Worlds Records)


Jim Rattigan is the UK’s best known jazz French horn player. He is a busy musician who is the first call on his instrument across a variety of genres including jazz, folk, pop, classical and film and TV soundtracks. The latter include the James Bond and Lord of the Rings film series.

His list of credits is mind boggling, far too lengthy to list in full here, but includes six years with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and other classical ensembles plus session work with some of the biggest names in rock and pop, among them Paul McCartney, George Michael and Adele. I know him best for his work in jazz ensembles including bands led by Mike Gibbs, Hans Koller, Mark Lockheart, Carla Bley, Percy Pursglove and the late, great Charlie Haden. And as he proved with Pursglove’s “Far Reaching Dreams of Mortal Souls” ensemble Rattigan is also a skilled accordionist.

In his capacity as a jazz musician Rattigan has released a number of albums under his own name including “Unfamiliar Guise” (2000), “Jazz French Horn” (2004), and “Shuzzed” (2010), the latter  recorded by a quartet featuring guitarist Phil Robson, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Gene Calderazzo.

In 2014 I reviewed his excellent trio set “Triplicity” which teamed him with the classical violinist Thomas Gould and the acclaimed jazz pianist Liam Noble. This was a chamber jazz recording that combined moments of pure beauty with an admirable improvisational rigour.
The full review can be read here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/jim-rattigan-thomas-gould-liam-noble-triplicity/

It was his work with Mike Gibbs that inspired Rattigan to form his own twelve piece band, Pavillon. The group name comes from ‘pavillon’, the French word for the bell of the French horn.

In 2011 Pavillon recorded the album “Strong Tea”, a release that was re-issued in 2016 to tie in with a national tour being undertaken by the ensemble.  My review of that recording can be seen here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/jim-rattigan-pavillon-strong-tea/


The 2016 tour included an EFG London Jazz Festival performance at The Vortex and Pavillon returned to the Festival the following year with an excellent lunchtime show at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street, Soho. I was lucky enough to be able to attend that event and my review of the performance can be read as part of my Festival coverage here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/features/article/efg-london-jazz-festival-sunday-november-12th-2017/


The Pavillon line up has, of necessity, been rather fluid over the years, although many of its members have been involved since the inception of the ensemble.

For “The Freedom of Movement” the current edition of Pavillon lines up as follows;

Jim Rattigan – French horn, composer

Martin Speake – alto sax

Andy Panayi – tenor sax

Mick Foster – baritone sax

Percy Pursglove – trumpet & flugelhorn

Steve Fishwick – trumpet

Robbie Robson – trumpet

Mark Nightingale – tenor trombone

Sarah Williams – bass trombone

Hans Koller – piano

Dave Whitford – double bass

Martin France -drums

Of this latest Pavillon recording Rattigan says;
“I chose the title ‘The Freedom of Movement’ to reflect my career, not only travelling the world performing but also moving between many different genres of music. The freedom to do both these things has always excited me as a musician and in all the truly wonderful experiences that I have had the highlight has undoubtedly been forming the group Pavillon. It is a joy to write for these amazing and creative musicians and I leave space in the compositions for creativity through improvisation. The music in the ‘Freedom of Movement’ is reflective at times, but also optimistic and, I hope, uplifting”.
Rattigan’s album notes also add insights into the inspirations and influences behind the individual compositions.

Opener “Timbuckthree” takes its title from a spot of banter between Rattigan and his then young son. Musically the piece references three 20th century classical themes, Richard Strauss’ horn concertos one and two and Ravel’s G major piano concerto. As Rattigan explains it Ravel was inspired by Gershwin, who in turn was inspired by black American music, i.e. jazz.
And this rousing introductory piece is undoubtedly a jazz performance, with the twelve piece ensemble making an impressively big sound with plenty of jazz and blues elements present in the music. Fluent solos come from Foster on baritone sax, Rattigan on French horn and Fishwick on trumpet. The leader plays the French horn with a remarkable degree of fluency, expressiveness and agility. In Rattigan’s hands the French horn becomes a thoroughly convincing vehicle for jazz soloing.

The title of “See You Suddenly” represents another example of Rattigan’s love of wordplay. This time the inspiration came from an eccentric bassoon player of Rattigan’s acquaintance, who would answer the more usual “See you later” with this phrase. Colourful horn voicings allied to a loping groove initially characterise this piece before things shift up a gear with Fishwick’s mercurial trumpet solo, delivered above a now furiously swinging groove. The energy levels are maintained on Panayi’s garrulous tenor solo, as the underlying rhythms and meters continue to mutate.

The inspiration behind “Oh Yeah Great, Thanks” is more serious than the title might suggest, as Rattigan explains; “The thought of a future generation living on a parched earth whilst embroiled in wars over water and looking back at past generations and saying “oh yeah great, thanks”.
Musically the piece is less angry than one might expect after reading the above. Instead it’s a bitter-sweet ballad with unexpectedly warm, lush textures and an underlying, if melancholic lyricism. Gently melodic solos come from Whitford at the bass, Koller on piano and Rattigan himself on French horn.

“Eclipse”, simply named after Rattigan witnessed a total eclipse, maintains something of the fragile mood and includes features from the same three soloists, whose playing again demonstrates those same lyrical qualities.

“Sweet Tamarind” was originally written by Rattigan for the “Triplicity” trio featuring Gould and Noble. Originally written as a Bill Evans inspired jazz waltz the piece becomes thoroughly transformed in this new arrangement for Pavillon. Where once it was “light and airy” it’s now a rousing ‘mini big band’ piece that here features ebullient solos from trombonist Mark Nightingale and the three trumpeters Pursglove, Fishwick and Robson, who relish their three way, nine valve tussle. Rattigan describes it all as “just a bit of fun”, which seems to sum it up pretty nicely.

As its title suggests the beautiful “Ballad Blue” is a blend of, in Rattigan’s words, “a gentle ballad…and a slow blues”. There’s a nocturnal feel about the arrangement with its muted brass, brushed drums and thoughtful, lyrical, gently unfolding solos from Speake on alto, Koller on piano, Robson on trumpet and the leader on French horn.

“Why Ask” is another old tune that Rattigan has re-arranged for the purpose of this recording. Delivered at a medium to fast tempo the arrangement is typically rich and colourful. Rattigan’s orchestrations routinely draw comparisons to those of such masters as Gil Evans and Mike Gibbs, and rightly so. The solos here include a seductively snaking alto excursion from Speake, a fruitier offering from Nightingale on trombone and the distinctive, fluent sounds of Pursglove on flugel.

Rattigan hails from the village of Houghton Regis near Luton and the closing “Crout’n Confusion” celebrates his roots. Another Luton native is the poet John Hegley who wrote a poem about “the town of his upbringing and the conflict between his working class origins and the middle class status conferred upon him by a university education”. One suspects that Rattigan may have gone through a similar identity crisis as he became assimilated into the classical music world. “I remember Luton, as I’m swallowing my crout’n” wrote Hegley, helping to provide Rattigan with his title.
This is a rumbustious but complex piece, initially constructed around a rollicking horn vamp, that includes expansive solos from Pursglove on trumpet and Speake on alto plus a drum feature from the consistently inventive France. The piece sounds as if it’s probably something of a challenge to play, but it’s still shot through with some of the humour inherent in its title and its source of inspiration.

It’s also France who ushers in the concluding title track, his atmospheric cymbal work establishing the mood of the piece, its gentle fanfares eventually paving the way for a thoughtful solo from Koller, with the group temporarily in piano trio mode, subsequently joined by Rattigan’s horn.
The final section sees the full ensemble return as the music takes on more of an anthemic quality.

“The Freedom of Movement” represents another impressive offering from Pavillon. Rattigan’s compositions and arrangements are rich, colourful and inventive and the playing, by a hand picked ensemble, is exceptional throughout. It’s a recording that wears its undoubted sophistication lightly, and which injects a little welcome humour at appropriate moments. Credit is also due to the production and engineering team of Rattigan, Peter Beckman and Alex Bonney for the warmth and quality of the mix.

Once again Rattigan makes the French horn a thoroughly convincing jazz solo instrument and “The Freedom of Movement” is 100% a jazz record, and an excellent one at that. In no way is this some kind of tepid jazz/classical crossover. The presence of such an all star jazz line up immediately dispels that idea.

Rattigan and Pavillon are currently touring the UK with forthcoming dates as follows;


2019;
15th October - Norwich Jazz Club
19th October - Jazz Café Posk, London (album launch)
5th November - Hastings Jazz Club
7th November - Birmingham East Side Jazz Club
22nd November - The Bear Club, Luton

17th January 2020 - Fleece Jazz at Stoke by Nayland, Colchester

 


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