Edition Records

Small is not just beautiful, but suddenly everywhere. Edition Records are had an album launch for Dave Stapleton ‘s quintet at the Vortex on Wednesday. Their forthcoming release from Tom Cawley gets the front cover of March Jazzwise. And there’s a live recording of Jasper Hoiby ‘s trio Phronesis at the Forge venue in Camden next week (above).

The Cardiff-based record label has a clear purpose, to bring music “which deserves to be heard” to a wider audience. Edition was started by successful freelance photographer Tim Dickeson and composer- pianist Dave Stapleton at the end of 2007, and put out its first release in March 2008. Dickeson took a liking to Stapleton’s music, and took the trouble to get to know him. Stapleton needed to move on from a previous collaboration which had run its course, and they partnered up.

Edition supports its artists well. The website has the 18 albums they have produced so far. Also for sale is the sheet music of some of the artists’ tunes, plus other merchandise. There are also a lot of interviews on the site with the musicians talking about the music.

Edition unashamedly promote complex music which they know won’t be for everyone, but they get the tone right. Nobody’s talking down to anybody. I like that. They still have the full-on entrepreneurial energy and passionate commitment of a start-up, e.g. driving straight back to Swindon (Stapleton) and Cardiff (Dickeson) after the Vortex gig. But they’re also realists. They had only just got going when they were caught up in the end-2008 distributor insolvencies. Edition came through with a mild bruise, and recovered quickly.

The partnership between Stapleton who does the A & R, and Dickeson, who does what he describes as “all the crappy bits” (logistics/ finance/ tax…) and all the photography, works well. They currently aim to put out 10-12 CDs a year. They are also looking at a new format “Limited Edition” with a very small production run, for later in the year.The two CDs so far vying to be their best seller so far are Geoff EalesMaster of the Game, and the debut album from Troyka.

I enjoyed dropping in to Dave Stapleton ‘s gig. (The link is to a VERY classy clear website) He’s an interesting composer, the moods shift radically but interestingly. I’ve a soft spot for his gentle and lyrical moments. In particular Images, the opening of Dry White – named after bassist Paula Gardiner’s favourite tipple- and Between the Lines, the title track of the new CD, all did it for me.

The front line was Ben Waghorn, an extremely fine and resourceful saxophonist, Jonathan Bruce was lively, and at one point seemed determined to double for Arturo Sandoval and see if the Vortex’s roof might respond. Bassist Paula Gardiner, who also runs the jazz faculty at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, plays clear purposeful lines with blooming tone and real character. Drummer Elliot Bennett, invisible under a cloth cap and behind manuscript paper, never over-balanced.

Now I’m looking forward to going to the live recording by Phronesis at the Forge (above) . See you there.

Categories: miscellaneous

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