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The Steve Fishwick / Alex Garnett Quartet - Marshian Time Slip Rating: 3-5 out of 5 The album adds a contemporary edge and sheen to the traditional hard bop virtues and the playing is excellent throughout from these four hugely accomplished ‘keepers of the flame’.

The Steve Fishwick / Alex Garnett Quartet

“Marshian Time Slip”

(Hard Bop Records HBR33011)

I’ve always thought of the sharp suited Manchester born, London based trumpeter Steve Fishwick as the keeper of the hard bop flame in Britain, having seen him perform a number of gigs in this style in a variety of permutations. The most recent of these was a quintet performance in the foyer of Cadogan Hall as part of the 2018 EFG London Jazz Festival when the trumpeter paid tribute to the music of both Cedar Walton and Duke Jordan in the company of Dave O’ Higgins ( tenor sax), Rob Barron (piano), Dario De Lecce (double bass) and Matt Fishwick (drums). My account of that performance can be found as part of my Festival coverage here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/features/article/efg-london-jazz-festival-day-six-wednesday-21st-november-2018/

It’s perhaps appropriate that Fishwick’s latest recording should be on the aptly named boutique label Hard Bop Records, founded by saxophonist Osian Roberts and based in Caerphilly, South Wales. “Marshian Time Slip” is a quartet date which teams Steve with co-leader Alex Garnett, here specialising on alto sax, together with the American born Michael Karn on double bass and Steve’s twin brother, Matt Fishwick at the drums. The album appears on heavy duty vinyl in a limited edition run of five hundred and as a digital download from the Hard Bop Records website http://www.hardboprecords.com

The album title represents a joint dedication to the late saxophonist Warne Marsh (1927-87) and the sci-fi author Philip K. Dick (1928-82) and the programme consists of four originals from Steve Fishwick and a further four from Alex Garnett, all of them written in a broadly hard bop vein.

The genesis of the project dares back fifteen years to a time when the Fishwick brothers lived in a flat in the Maida Vale area of London, their neighbour just so happening to be Garnett.

 “It was inadvertently influenced by the chord-less quartet of Ernie Henry (alto sax) and Kenny Dorham (trumpet) and by Sonny Rollins and more broadly the bebop/hard bop genre as we didn’t have a piano available in the rehearsal room,” explains Fishwick. “There was a process of Alex and I writing separately and coming together and rehearsing/work-shopping the material.. The project was shelved after a while with a view to coming back to it at some point, although we didn’t envision quite how much time would pass!”

The music on “Marshian Time Slip” was recorded at London’s Konk Studios (famously founded by The Kinks) on November 24th 2016 with Josh Green engineering and Alex Garnett and Steve Fishwick producing. The sound is excellent throughout.

As it happens just five days before I had been witness to a performance by the quartet at the Elgin pub in Ladbroke Grove, a show that came under the banner of the 2016 EFG London Festival. Circumstances conspired to ensure that I could only stay for the first set but I enjoyed my sneak preview of the “Marshian Time Slip” album and once again my account of the performance appears as part of my wider Festival coverage here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/features/article/efg-london-jazz-festival-2016-day-nine-saturday-19th-november-2016/

The album commences with the Steve Fishwick piece “The Wrath of Karn”, which its composer describes as “a long form altered blues in dedication to our bassist Michael Karn and featuring our drummer Matt Fishwick”. Also drawing on the influence of 1960s modal jazz this is a spirited and energetic opener that features Steve and Alex Garnett exchanging fiery solos above the vibrant rhythms laid down by Karn and Matt Fishwick. As befits the title of the piece the tune also includes something of a feature for Karn, plus the promised solo and drum breaks from Matt Fishwick, who circumnavigates his kit with a boisterous enthusiasm.

Also by Steve Fishwick is the title track, written in the style of Marsh and pianist Lennie Tristano and based, in the words of its composer, on “a truncated ‘All The Things You Are’, there are three bars missing”. The three missing bars form the “time slip” of the title. Essentially it’s a ‘contrafact’, but an interesting one, with Steve Fishwick, on trumpet, and Garnett on alto, combining to state the theme above Matt Fishwick’s brushed drum groove. Subsequently the co-leaders diverge to deliver their own solos, Garnett going first and probing incisively on alto. It’s interesting to hear him on the smaller horn rather than his usual tenor, but his playing loses nothing in terms of power and fluency. Steve Fishwick then solos, also displaying a keen intelligence and an impressive technique. Karn, a propulsive presence throughout, then solos on the bass, underpinned by Matt’s brushes.

Garnett’s first contribution with the pen is the wistfully nostalgic “52nd Street Dream”, a ballad dedicated to the memory of Ronnie Scott and his opening of the UK’s first dedicated modern jazz club at 39, Gerrard Street, London in 1959. Scott’s vision had been inspired by a visit to 52nd Street in Manhattan and the inclusion of this piece is particularly apposite sixty years after the founding of that great British institution that is Ronnie’s. Garnett himself appears regularly in the house band at the current Ronnie Scott’s in Frith Street, Soho, his rapier like wit between numbers often reminiscent of that of Ronnie himself.
Musically the piece features Steve and Alex again combining effectively above brushed grooves before delivering their individual statements, Alex again going first. Karn also features with a typically dexterous bass solo and he also acts as a grounding presence throughout.

Also from Garnett comes “Kaftan”, the title a nod to its composers Middle Eastern heritage with the sleeve note declaring “the desert winds blow hot and cold, they carry a message from the young to the old”. There’s a hint of Eastern exotica within a bluesy, hard bop framework that incorporates robust but fluent solos from Garnett on alto and Steve Fishwick on trumpet, the pair supported by Karn’s bass pulse and Matt Fishwick’s clipped drum grooves. In this chordless quartet Karn again features strongly as a soloist and there’s also something of a feature for Matt Fishwick with an engaging series of drum breaks. Indeed the absence of a piano is never noticeable.

Side Two – even in these days of the vinyl renaissance it still seems strange to be typing that – kicks off with Garnett’s “Rio De Ron”, literally “River of Rum”, which its composer describes as;
“A toast to Guyana’s mighty Demerara river and the joy that can be distilled from it”.
Garnett’s hymn of praise to his favourite tipple combines subtle Latin flavourings with hard bop virtues to create a relaxed, celebratory atmosphere that facilitates excellent solos from Karn, Steve Fishwick and Garnett. Bassist Karn goes first and delivers what is arguably his best solo of the set, an extended excursion that showcases his dexterity and melodic flair, these qualities allied to his innate sense of time and groove. The horn men are just as fine with Garnett’s alto snaking in suitably sinuous, riparian fashion.

The sound of Karn’s unaccompanied bass introduces Steve Fishwick’s ballad “Primitis”, a tune inspired by his son’s toy bear. Steve‘s muted trumpet sound here is reminiscent of ‘Kind of Blue’ era Miles Davis and the music has something of the quality of that celebrated recording about it. At a little over eight minutes in duration this is the lengthiest track on the album with the music unfolding slowly and organically. Nothing is rushed and Steve’s gently brooding solo has a Miles like melancholy about it, while Garnett’s more incisive alto evokes memories of Cannonball Adderley’s contribution to that record. Bassist Karn is also featured briefly at the close.

Also by Steve Fishwick is “The Creep”, a title about which its composer remarks; “about a person we’ve all met, or may even have been on occasion”. Musically the piece is inspired by trumpeter Kenny Dorham and pianist Horace Silver and the tune has a bluesy quality about it, towed along by Karn’s languid bass groove and Matt Fishwick’s subtly propulsive drumming. Karn again features as a soloist, still relishing in the freedom afforded by the piano-less format. Steve Fishwick and Alex Garnett exchange lucid, inventive solos, before coalescing effectively on a restatement of the theme.

The album concludes with Garnett’s “Lickeroo” with its composer declaring; “The ‘lickeroo’ is a Noble bird that thrives upon a riff and a whiff of a Suite Indian love song”. Keen eyed readers, particularly cryptic crossword enthusiasts, may have deduced that this is another contrafact, this time based on “the metrically compressed chord changes to the old warhorse ‘Cherokee’,”- which was written, of course, by Ray Noble. Garnett continues  “A burst of a KoKo-esque line in the outro honours the irrepressible ‘Yardbird’’.”  Charlie Parker, in other words
This homage to the glories of the bebop era races along at a suitably frenetic pace with Steve and Alex negotiating the fast moving twists and turns of the piece with considerable aplomb, a feat matched by the similarly sure footed rhythm team. Steve and Alex both dazzle with their eloquent solos, the latter again a revelation on alto. Karn and Matt Fishwick also enjoy cameos as Garnett takes liberties with Noble’s tune, adding layers of complexity in highly entertaining fashion.

“Marshian Time Slip” more than delivers on the promise of that Elgin performance. The album adds a contemporary edge and sheen to the traditional hard bop virtues and the playing is excellent throughout from these four hugely accomplished ‘keepers of the flame’.

Both Steve Fishwick and Garnett prove themselves to be able composers in the bebop and hard bop idioms and both impress hugely as fluent, eloquent and sometimes fiery soloists. In this piano-less format Karn and Matt Fishwick are also given plenty to do and the pair respond with skill and conviction, providing flexible and intelligent support to the two horn front line as well as relishing their own soloing opportunities.

It could be argued that it’s all a little derivative but there are many listeners out there who will love this quartet’s updating of the hard bop message. Garnett and the Fishwicks are musicians with large and loyal followings and the quartet’s current tour (remaining dates below) is sure to be well supported. Indeed a live performance is probably where the abilities of these four excellent musicians can be best enjoyed and appreciated. Catch them at;

18 March – Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London - Late Late Show
(+ special guest on piano)
19 March – Herts Jazz at The Maltings, St Albans
20 March – Kansas Smitty’s, London (official record launch party)
21 March – Birmingham East Side Jazz Club
22 March – Leeds College of Music (masterclass) & Wakefield Jazz Club
23 March – The Bear, Luton

Further details at;

Steve Fishwick:
http://www.stevefishwickjazz.com


Alex Garnett
http://www.alexgarnettsax.com


Album available from http://www.hardboprecords.com and at gigs.

 

Marshian Time Slip

The Steve Fishwick / Alex Garnett Quartet

Monday, March 18, 2019

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Album Review

3-5 out of 5

Marshian Time Slip

The album adds a contemporary edge and sheen to the traditional hard bop virtues and the playing is excellent throughout from these four hugely accomplished ‘keepers of the flame’.

The Steve Fishwick / Alex Garnett Quartet

“Marshian Time Slip”

(Hard Bop Records HBR33011)

I’ve always thought of the sharp suited Manchester born, London based trumpeter Steve Fishwick as the keeper of the hard bop flame in Britain, having seen him perform a number of gigs in this style in a variety of permutations. The most recent of these was a quintet performance in the foyer of Cadogan Hall as part of the 2018 EFG London Jazz Festival when the trumpeter paid tribute to the music of both Cedar Walton and Duke Jordan in the company of Dave O’ Higgins ( tenor sax), Rob Barron (piano), Dario De Lecce (double bass) and Matt Fishwick (drums). My account of that performance can be found as part of my Festival coverage here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/features/article/efg-london-jazz-festival-day-six-wednesday-21st-november-2018/

It’s perhaps appropriate that Fishwick’s latest recording should be on the aptly named boutique label Hard Bop Records, founded by saxophonist Osian Roberts and based in Caerphilly, South Wales. “Marshian Time Slip” is a quartet date which teams Steve with co-leader Alex Garnett, here specialising on alto sax, together with the American born Michael Karn on double bass and Steve’s twin brother, Matt Fishwick at the drums. The album appears on heavy duty vinyl in a limited edition run of five hundred and as a digital download from the Hard Bop Records website http://www.hardboprecords.com

The album title represents a joint dedication to the late saxophonist Warne Marsh (1927-87) and the sci-fi author Philip K. Dick (1928-82) and the programme consists of four originals from Steve Fishwick and a further four from Alex Garnett, all of them written in a broadly hard bop vein.

The genesis of the project dares back fifteen years to a time when the Fishwick brothers lived in a flat in the Maida Vale area of London, their neighbour just so happening to be Garnett.

 “It was inadvertently influenced by the chord-less quartet of Ernie Henry (alto sax) and Kenny Dorham (trumpet) and by Sonny Rollins and more broadly the bebop/hard bop genre as we didn’t have a piano available in the rehearsal room,” explains Fishwick. “There was a process of Alex and I writing separately and coming together and rehearsing/work-shopping the material.. The project was shelved after a while with a view to coming back to it at some point, although we didn’t envision quite how much time would pass!”

The music on “Marshian Time Slip” was recorded at London’s Konk Studios (famously founded by The Kinks) on November 24th 2016 with Josh Green engineering and Alex Garnett and Steve Fishwick producing. The sound is excellent throughout.

As it happens just five days before I had been witness to a performance by the quartet at the Elgin pub in Ladbroke Grove, a show that came under the banner of the 2016 EFG London Festival. Circumstances conspired to ensure that I could only stay for the first set but I enjoyed my sneak preview of the “Marshian Time Slip” album and once again my account of the performance appears as part of my wider Festival coverage here;
http://www.thejazzmann.com/features/article/efg-london-jazz-festival-2016-day-nine-saturday-19th-november-2016/

The album commences with the Steve Fishwick piece “The Wrath of Karn”, which its composer describes as “a long form altered blues in dedication to our bassist Michael Karn and featuring our drummer Matt Fishwick”. Also drawing on the influence of 1960s modal jazz this is a spirited and energetic opener that features Steve and Alex Garnett exchanging fiery solos above the vibrant rhythms laid down by Karn and Matt Fishwick. As befits the title of the piece the tune also includes something of a feature for Karn, plus the promised solo and drum breaks from Matt Fishwick, who circumnavigates his kit with a boisterous enthusiasm.

Also by Steve Fishwick is the title track, written in the style of Marsh and pianist Lennie Tristano and based, in the words of its composer, on “a truncated ‘All The Things You Are’, there are three bars missing”. The three missing bars form the “time slip” of the title. Essentially it’s a ‘contrafact’, but an interesting one, with Steve Fishwick, on trumpet, and Garnett on alto, combining to state the theme above Matt Fishwick’s brushed drum groove. Subsequently the co-leaders diverge to deliver their own solos, Garnett going first and probing incisively on alto. It’s interesting to hear him on the smaller horn rather than his usual tenor, but his playing loses nothing in terms of power and fluency. Steve Fishwick then solos, also displaying a keen intelligence and an impressive technique. Karn, a propulsive presence throughout, then solos on the bass, underpinned by Matt’s brushes.

Garnett’s first contribution with the pen is the wistfully nostalgic “52nd Street Dream”, a ballad dedicated to the memory of Ronnie Scott and his opening of the UK’s first dedicated modern jazz club at 39, Gerrard Street, London in 1959. Scott’s vision had been inspired by a visit to 52nd Street in Manhattan and the inclusion of this piece is particularly apposite sixty years after the founding of that great British institution that is Ronnie’s. Garnett himself appears regularly in the house band at the current Ronnie Scott’s in Frith Street, Soho, his rapier like wit between numbers often reminiscent of that of Ronnie himself.
Musically the piece features Steve and Alex again combining effectively above brushed grooves before delivering their individual statements, Alex again going first. Karn also features with a typically dexterous bass solo and he also acts as a grounding presence throughout.

Also from Garnett comes “Kaftan”, the title a nod to its composers Middle Eastern heritage with the sleeve note declaring “the desert winds blow hot and cold, they carry a message from the young to the old”. There’s a hint of Eastern exotica within a bluesy, hard bop framework that incorporates robust but fluent solos from Garnett on alto and Steve Fishwick on trumpet, the pair supported by Karn’s bass pulse and Matt Fishwick’s clipped drum grooves. In this chordless quartet Karn again features strongly as a soloist and there’s also something of a feature for Matt Fishwick with an engaging series of drum breaks. Indeed the absence of a piano is never noticeable.

Side Two – even in these days of the vinyl renaissance it still seems strange to be typing that – kicks off with Garnett’s “Rio De Ron”, literally “River of Rum”, which its composer describes as;
“A toast to Guyana’s mighty Demerara river and the joy that can be distilled from it”.
Garnett’s hymn of praise to his favourite tipple combines subtle Latin flavourings with hard bop virtues to create a relaxed, celebratory atmosphere that facilitates excellent solos from Karn, Steve Fishwick and Garnett. Bassist Karn goes first and delivers what is arguably his best solo of the set, an extended excursion that showcases his dexterity and melodic flair, these qualities allied to his innate sense of time and groove. The horn men are just as fine with Garnett’s alto snaking in suitably sinuous, riparian fashion.

The sound of Karn’s unaccompanied bass introduces Steve Fishwick’s ballad “Primitis”, a tune inspired by his son’s toy bear. Steve‘s muted trumpet sound here is reminiscent of ‘Kind of Blue’ era Miles Davis and the music has something of the quality of that celebrated recording about it. At a little over eight minutes in duration this is the lengthiest track on the album with the music unfolding slowly and organically. Nothing is rushed and Steve’s gently brooding solo has a Miles like melancholy about it, while Garnett’s more incisive alto evokes memories of Cannonball Adderley’s contribution to that record. Bassist Karn is also featured briefly at the close.

Also by Steve Fishwick is “The Creep”, a title about which its composer remarks; “about a person we’ve all met, or may even have been on occasion”. Musically the piece is inspired by trumpeter Kenny Dorham and pianist Horace Silver and the tune has a bluesy quality about it, towed along by Karn’s languid bass groove and Matt Fishwick’s subtly propulsive drumming. Karn again features as a soloist, still relishing in the freedom afforded by the piano-less format. Steve Fishwick and Alex Garnett exchange lucid, inventive solos, before coalescing effectively on a restatement of the theme.

The album concludes with Garnett’s “Lickeroo” with its composer declaring; “The ‘lickeroo’ is a Noble bird that thrives upon a riff and a whiff of a Suite Indian love song”. Keen eyed readers, particularly cryptic crossword enthusiasts, may have deduced that this is another contrafact, this time based on “the metrically compressed chord changes to the old warhorse ‘Cherokee’,”- which was written, of course, by Ray Noble. Garnett continues  “A burst of a KoKo-esque line in the outro honours the irrepressible ‘Yardbird’’.”  Charlie Parker, in other words
This homage to the glories of the bebop era races along at a suitably frenetic pace with Steve and Alex negotiating the fast moving twists and turns of the piece with considerable aplomb, a feat matched by the similarly sure footed rhythm team. Steve and Alex both dazzle with their eloquent solos, the latter again a revelation on alto. Karn and Matt Fishwick also enjoy cameos as Garnett takes liberties with Noble’s tune, adding layers of complexity in highly entertaining fashion.

“Marshian Time Slip” more than delivers on the promise of that Elgin performance. The album adds a contemporary edge and sheen to the traditional hard bop virtues and the playing is excellent throughout from these four hugely accomplished ‘keepers of the flame’.

Both Steve Fishwick and Garnett prove themselves to be able composers in the bebop and hard bop idioms and both impress hugely as fluent, eloquent and sometimes fiery soloists. In this piano-less format Karn and Matt Fishwick are also given plenty to do and the pair respond with skill and conviction, providing flexible and intelligent support to the two horn front line as well as relishing their own soloing opportunities.

It could be argued that it’s all a little derivative but there are many listeners out there who will love this quartet’s updating of the hard bop message. Garnett and the Fishwicks are musicians with large and loyal followings and the quartet’s current tour (remaining dates below) is sure to be well supported. Indeed a live performance is probably where the abilities of these four excellent musicians can be best enjoyed and appreciated. Catch them at;

18 March – Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London - Late Late Show
(+ special guest on piano)
19 March – Herts Jazz at The Maltings, St Albans
20 March – Kansas Smitty’s, London (official record launch party)
21 March – Birmingham East Side Jazz Club
22 March – Leeds College of Music (masterclass) & Wakefield Jazz Club
23 March – The Bear, Luton

Further details at;

Steve Fishwick:
http://www.stevefishwickjazz.com


Alex Garnett
http://www.alexgarnettsax.com


Album available from http://www.hardboprecords.com and at gigs.

 


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