by Ian Mann
November 08, 2023
Another very worthwhile release from Collie. Once again he demonstrates his abilities as a composer with a set of highly melodic themes that represent good vehicles for the soloists.
Terence Collie – piano, Roberto Manzin –tenor saxophone, Nick Lenner-Webster – bass, Ted Carrasco – drums
Terence Collie is a pianist, composer, educator and promoter based in west London. “384,400” is his second album release of 2023 and follows the excellent solo piano recording “Reminiscent” which was issued in March. Review here;
As a pianist, composer and bandleader Collie has released two previous quartet albums with his band Prison Break, featuring saxophonist Ritchie Garrison, bassist Joe Sam and drummer John Sam. “Doing Time” appeared in 2011 with “And Again” following in 2013.
Collie’s next project was a three piece featuring clarinettist / saxophonist Matt Dibble and bassist Nick Lenner-Webster, this line up releasing the self explanatory “Trio” in 2017.
2018’s “TC3+” saw a core trio of Collie, bassist Paul Michael and drummer Rha Stranges augmented by string players Agata Kubiak (violin), Raisa Zapryanova (viola) and Andrea Derdák (cello).
In his role as a promoter Collie coordinates the Mood Indigo Events organisation, which he runs in conjunction with vocalist Janet McCunn.
MIE present performances at a variety of venues in the London area, among them the Riverside Arts Centre in Sunbury-on-Thames, the 1901 Arts Club in Waterloo, the Jazz on The Plaza series at Café Yukari in Richmond and the Jazz at The Tree series at The Talking Tree in Staines. At one time they also co-ordinated the regular ‘Janet’s Jazz Night’ events at Polish Jazz Café POSK in Hammersmith. Collie has also been involved with the organising of the now defunct TW12 Jazz Festival in Twickenham.
Collie serves as MIE’s ‘house pianist’ and is a versatile and adaptable sideman who has performed with many leading jazz instrumentalists and vocalists.
MIE have also established strong links with Brecon Jazz Festival and were part of the 2020 Virtual Brecon Jazz Festival. In 2022 as things began to return to normal after the pandemic Collie was invited to Brecon to perform live at that year’s Jazz Festival. His Panoply Trio, featuring bassist Marianne Windham and drummer Caroline Boaden, played an excellent and very well received set at the Castle Hotel.
In 2023 Collie returned to Brecon and to the Castle Hotel as part of a quartet led by guitarist and composer Edison Herbert, another enjoyable and highly successful event.
The MIE / BJF link has also seen shows performed in front of a live audience at the Riverside Arts Centre in Sunbury being streamed to another audience watching on screen in Brecon. These events have included a double bill of the Atsuko Shimada / Alan Barnes Quartet and the Juan Galiardo Trio in 2022 and Zoe Gilby singing with Collie’s trio in 2023.
Collie remained active throughout lockdown co-ordinating numerous livestream events and also collaborating with vocalist Esther Bennett on her adventurous new album “Home Is Where The Arts Is”, released in late 2022. Review here;
“384,400” was recorded at the Riverside Arts Centre in Sunbury on 23rd August 2023, but I don’t believe that it’s a ‘live album’ as such as I don’t think there was a paying audience in attendance. As with the earlier “Reminiscent” the turnover time between recording and release is again remarkably rapid. Collie is a great facilitator and doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.
The programme features five Collie originals plus two arrangements of jazz standards. Some of the original compositions were played by Collie with the Panoply Trio at the 2022 Brecon Jazz Festival.
The album commences with Collie’s composition “The Flamekeepers”, dedicated to the people that keep the Jazz flame (and those of the other Arts) burning in the challenging economic climate of the 21st century, particularly post pandemic. Collie speaks of the piece having a “beautiful melody with a fun to improvise over chord sequence”. It’s certainly a very attractive album opener and features solos from the Italian born tenor saxophonist Roberto Manzin and from Collie himself on piano. Both stretch out expansively and effectively, as Lenner-Webster and Carrasco provide subtly swinging support.
The first of the standards is an adventurous Collie arrangement of “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise” that experiments with the structure and harmony of the piece. It’s a fast moving and refreshingly original take on a very familiar tune that includes a powerful solo from Manzin on tenor that is reminiscent of his punchy playing as a guest with guitarist Clement Regert’s Wild Card trio. Collie delivers another sparkling piano solo as the dynamic rhythm pairing of Lenner-Webster and the American born Carrasco combine to really drive the music.
Reader may have been wondering where the album title comes from. Collie has an interest in astronomy and the title “384,400” refers to the distance in kilometres from the Earth to the Moon. The “Reminiscent” album includes the composition “Hubble 30”, written in 2020 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the famous telescope. A band version of that tune was performed by the Panoply Trio at Brecon in 2022.
In keeping with the lunar theme “384,400” commences with Collie playing solo piano and performing the theme from Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” in a rubato style. He subsequently uses Debussy’s theme as the starting point for the contrafact that becomes “384,400”, as he changes the time and key signatures, adds jazzier chords and a newly composed melody. The essential beauty remains in a ballad like arrangement that sees Manzin adopting a softer tone on tenor and Collie delivering some of his most lyrical playing at the piano. Carrasco largely plays with brushes and delivers a subtle and nuanced performance behind the kit. Lenner-Webster is featured for the first time with a melodic bass solo.
Written at the appropriate time of year “Solstice D’Ete” continues the astronomical theme. Melody and lyricism are again key components in a piece that embraces a suitably sunny and summery feel. Lenner-Webster takes the first solo on bass, a nimble offering followed by Manzin’s more expansive and probing tenor sax soloing. Collie follows on piano, before Manzin returns once more.
“Brecon Blues” was written by Collie to commemorate his involvement with the 2020 Brecon Jazz Festival. Naturally it was then played by the Panoply Trio at the 2022 Festival. A genuine blues the tune lends itself well to the quartet format, with the impressive Manzin delivering the first solo. Collie produces his most rumbustious soloing of the set, propelled by the busy rhythm section. Both Lenner- Webster and Carrasco are then featured as soloists on one of the album’s most dynamic and energetic pieces.
“August” is a companion piece to “Brecon Blues”, named for the month in which the Brecon Jazz Festival takes place, while also referencing Collie’s own birth date of August 22nd. Like its companion it has a celebratory feel and is an upbeat Latin inflected number that includes solos from the composer on piano and Manzin on tenor. A solo piano version of this composition graces the “Reminiscent” album.
The album concludes with a thoughtful and lyrical solo piano performance of Michel Legrand’s “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?”, a neat link to the earlier “Reminiscent” release.
Although not quite as distinctive as the solo piano recording “384,400” represents another very worthwhile release from Collie. Once again he demonstrates his abilities as a composer with a set of highly melodic themes that represent good vehicles for the soloists, particularly Collie and the impressive Manzin. Lenner-Webster and Carrasco represent a flexible and intelligent rhythm team and their playing is right on the money throughout, offering excellent support to the frontline soloists whilst also making the most of their own opportunities.
Having enjoyed seeing Collie performing as the leader of a piano trio I’d welcome the opportunity of seeing him leading this excellent quartet.
“384,400” is available via Collie’s website;
blog comments powered by Disqus