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CD Review: Kairos 4tet – Statement of Intent

CD Review Kairos 4tet – Statement of Intent
(Edition Records, CD Review by Tom Gray)

The music on this second album from saxophonist Adam Waldmann’s Kairos 4tet retains many of the elements which made their debut ‘Kairos Moment’ so appealing. As before, the overriding tone is of Middle Eastern-tinged melodies which unravel beguilingly over a complex rhythmic framework. But somehow the grooves are even deeper here, the solos are delivered with more conviction, the group dialogue appears to take a step closer to true telepathy.

Part of this is undeniably down to the recruitment of pianist Ivo Neame, who joins drummer John Scott and his Phronesis colleague, bassist Jasper Høiby. They make up a formidable rhythm section which sails through these often tricky charts with knockout precision and inventiveness. The leader selflessly and shrewdly allows them plenty of space to fully explore the possibilities of each piece before making his entries.

‘You And Me, 100 Degrees’ is a perfect example of this, with Neame and Høiby’s finely detailed interplay reminiscent of Bill Evans and Scott LaFaro, but transposed to an altogether more fired-up setting, progressively building up the kind of heat suggested by the title. Waldmann responds with typical intelligence, stepping in with some long sustained notes which he patiently works into a solo eventually matching this level of intensity, his tone on soprano almost at breaking point.

Away from this ferocity, there are more contemplative moments which provide ample balance. The yearning theme of ‘Simpler Times’ is like an instrumental soul ballad, although Neame’s oblique voicings also point towards something darker. As on their first album, vocalist Emilia Martensson makes a welcome appearance on a couple of numbers.

For listeners who enjoyed ‘Kairos Moment’, getting hold of a copy of this fine follow-up album should be a no-brainer. For those who missed that release, ‘Statement of Intent’ provides an opportunity to catch up with a rapidly maturing group who have something exciting and original to say.

‘Statement of Intent’ is released on April 4th. The London launch is at the Vortex on 13th aprilTour starts in April. Other tour dates and CD ordering on the Edition Records website.

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