Alex Hutton Trio – Legentis
(F-IRE CD 53. CD review by Chris Parker)
Anyone who’s heard pianist/composer Alex Hutton’s previous album, Songs from the Seven Hills (33Jazz), will already be aware of his ability to imbue his pieces with what might be termed muscular lyricism: an evocative, occasionally dreamy quality underpinned by fierce power.
This power resides not only in his own vigorous playing, but also in the contributions of his rhythm sections; Mike Janisch and Enzo Zirilli have been replaced by Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev and drummer Asaf Sirkis on this recording, but the characteristic Hutton mix of grace and strength (unsurprising once his avowed openness to the music of both the Stranglers and Vaughan Williams is acknowledged) remains undimmed.
Hutton chose Sirkis for both his musicality and ‘rocky approach’; Goloubev was selected for his classical background, which enabled him to ‘rise to the challenge of new music without any preconceived jazz history limitations’. From the off, the slow-building tumult that is ‘JJ’, both players perform just as Hutton expected, Sirkis all tumbling, but always precise, robustness, Goloubev all sinewy propulsiveness, so that Hutton’s composition (aptly described by him as ‘anthemic or heroic’) sets the bar high for what follows: a rich programme of skilfully varied pieces evoking everything from cloudscapes to cultural heritage and culminating in a solo piano meditation.
Hutton himself brings an almost Tyneresque energy to the louder moments on this album, and his compositions are characterised by an immediacy and vibrancy that gives them an almost filmic quality; overall this is another fine album from an accomplished and highly individual talent.