(Babel/The Vortex BVOR1197, CD review by Chris Parker)
Huw Warren, one of Dan Messore’s tutors at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, reacted to Indigo Kid thus: “Great tunes, I love the fluid feel. I like the freshness of the overall vibe.”
Messore himself aspires to inhabit musical territory where “Pat Metheny meets Kurt Rosenwinkel” and aims to draw on the “rich folk-rock tradition of John Fahey and Bert Jansch”, and such lofty ambitions are by no means overstated; Indigo Kid is a finely wrought, carefully considered piece of work whose compositions are clearly the product of a nimble musical mind, and Messore’s bandmates – saxophonist Iain Ballamy, bassist Tim Harries and drummer Gethin Jones – address his richly varied pieces with discernible relish.
Ballamy brings his customary affecting fragility to ballad material and elegant, controlled power to the up-tempo pieces, and Harries and Jones are a vigorous and neat unit, but it is Messore’s precise yet gutsy playing that is the most immediately attractive feature of a fine album.
The band’s residency at the Vortex in September should be a real treat.