There Will Be Time
Friday, July 13, 2012
Reviewed by: Ian Mann
Exhibits much promise. The album borrows heavily from Monk, Blakey and others but Edis brings enough of himself to the proceedings, particularly on the slower numbers, to keep it interesting.
Paul Edis Sextet
“There Will be Time”
(Jazzaction Records JA19)
Paul Edis is one of the most in demand pianists in the North East of England and his trio, with bassist Mick Shoulder and drummer Adam Sinclair, have backed a number of illustrious guest soloists when they have visited the area. The roll call includes trumpeter Steve Waterman and saxophonists as varied as Tim Garland, Alan Barnes, Julian Siegel, Tony Kofi, Simon Spillett, Greg Abate and Iain Ballamy. The last three all add glowing endorsements to the press release for Edis’ new album for jazz sextet “There Will Be Time”.
The album reveals Edis to be a skilled composer as well as a fine pianist, still only twenty six he is a player of immense promise. I first encountered his playing as a member of bassist and composer Andy Champion’s ACV group when he made a significant contribution to the album “Fail In Wood” also playing electric keyboards. ACV combine jazz and progressive rock and give the music a dark, gothic edge but Edis’ own group is altogether more conventional in feel taking its inspiration from the sound of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and other stalwarts of the legendary Blue Note label.
As well as recording with ACV Edis has also appeared on albums by jazz vocalist Ruth Lambert and funk/jazz/soul outfit Nick Pride and the Pimptones. However “There Will Be Time” represents his début as a leader and as well as his regular partners Shoulder and Sinclair he has also brought three of the North East’s leading horn players into the fold in the shape of trumpeter Graham Hardy, saxophonist Graeme Wilson and and trombonist Chris Hibbard. Of the twelve items on the record ten are Edis originals, the other two coming from the pen of Wilson with whom Edis also worked in ACV.
The album begins in rousing fashion with “Administrate This!” which combines the martial rhythms of the Messengers’ “Jazz March” with the growling trumpet sound of the Ellington band’s Bubber Miley. Fiery solos come from Wilson on tenor and Hardy on trumpet with the composer also making a strong contribution from the piano. A most enjoyable start.
“Re;Vamp” is more subtle but no less satisfying with its rich horn voicings and some wonderfully flowing and lyrical piano from Edis. Hardy moves to flugel horn and he demonstrates his versatility by producing a beautiful creamy, velvety tone on his solo.
Presumably the title of “I Wish I Was a Monk” is a nod in the direction of the great Thelonious. Edis’ playing and writing on this quirky, catchy number certainly suggests as much, he leads the piece in with a solo passage of percussive, Monkish piano before handing over to the muscular tenor of Wilson. Finally Edis trades phrases with drummer Sinclair before a final statement of the distinctive stop/start theme that characterises the piece. Cheerily eccentric the piece could have written by old “Hat & Beard” himself.
“Angular” embraces a deeply funky bass groove and highlights the soloing talents of trombonist Chris Hibbard alongside the robust tenor of Wilson. Sinclair enjoys some colourful drum fills on this bright, punchy piece that has apparently become something of a favourite at the group’s live performances.
The title track is very different with a richly scored horn arrangement followed by a trio interlude featuring deeply lyrical piano and the expressive work of bassist Mick Shoulder. Hibbard’s trombone solo is this time emotive and mournful and there is also a lengthy passage of solo piano before the dolorous sound of the horns returns to complete the circle. This is a skilful and well crafted piece of writing that owes something to Edis’ training at the Royal College of Music in London and at York University. He also writes for classical instrumentation and the neat structure of this piece seems to owe something to that environment.
Wilson’s first piece “Hey There You Hosers” has a more orthodox jazz feel to it and features gently smouldering solos from Wilson and Hardy. It has been suggested that the piece owes something to Clifford Brown’s “Joyspring” and there’s certainly something of Brown’s elegance in this delightfully relaxed group performance.
The brooding “Echoes” is similar in mood to the title track with its mournful horn lines and atmospheric piano and percussion. Although brief in duration it captures its intended mood of sadness superbly.
“Sharp 9/8” gives the soloists a chance to stretch out over the unusual rolling rhythm. Hardy grabs the chance with both hands with some bravura trumpeting and Edis’ own solo is impressive in its inventiveness, his chunky, percussive chording again evincing the influence of one Thelonious Monk.
“Elegy” completes a trilogy of reflective pieces but owes rather more to the traditions of the jazz ballad. Hardy and Hibbard provide emotive, well constructed solos on this often lovely piece.
“Blues For Dad”, Edis’ dedication to his father Jerry is an upbeat celebration featuring the composer’s exuberant blues piano soloing and Shoulder’s bowed and sung solo in the style of Slam Stewart. Sinclair enjoys a series of volcanic drum breaks and the whole thing is tremendous fun. I bet Jerry loved it!
The punning title of “Ravelations” represents another acknowledgement of Edis’ classical background and allows the pianist to stretch out at length, delicately probing and teasing before going on to solo more effusively. His regular trio partners Shoulder and Sinclair are the perfect accompanists. Wilson also solos on smooth and smoky tenor.
The album closes with Wilson’s “Up Late”, something of a blowing vehicle and another live favourite. Hardy, Wilson and Hibbard blow up a storm over Sinclair’s crisp rhythms. It’s a good way to conclude a very satisfying and enjoyable album.
“There Will Be Time” exhibits much promise. The album borrows heavily from Monk, Blakey and others but Edis brings enough of himself to the proceedings, particularly on the slower numbers, to keep it interesting. His writing is interesting if a little derivative and the well crafted arrangements excellent. Everybody plays well and although Edis has his fair share of the limelight he doesn’t overly dominate, instead he serves the music and allows plenty of solo space to others. The production team headed by Sinclair and including Edis and Northern jazz stalwart Adrian Tilbrook do a fine job with the sound and bring out the best in the compositions and performances.
Lance Liddell’s blog Bebop Spoken Here, which offers comprehensive coverage of the jazz scene in the North East, has a number of accounts of Edis’ live performances and the indication is that both the sextet and the trio are terrific live acts.
Go to http://www.lance-bebopspokenhere.blogspot.com
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