Paul Baxter Quartet – Monuments
(www.paulbaxtermusic.com/Hungry Bear Records (in th USA). CD Review by Chris Parker)
Bassist/composer Paul Baxter’s quartet (completed by alto player/flautist Tom Harrison, pianist Tom Taylor and drummer Jon Ormston) has been described as ‘a breath of fresh air for the UK jazz scene’ (by saxophonist Mornington Lockett), and this, the band’s debut recording, documents a fresh-sounding, snappy outfit with a penchant for tricksy rhythms and the odd burst of freeish playing.
Baxter’s compositions range from relatively straightforward, perky fare (‘Blams’) to slighly more convoluted pieces giving rise to various tempo and timbre changes (‘Darkish’, ‘Atoandafro (Tales from the Lane)’, a flute-led latin piece (‘Para Lecouna’) and a bustling closer, ‘If Peggy Knew…’, but whatever they’re playing (and one of the chief attractions of this album is the assured manner in which the quartet deals with the many colours contained in Baxter’s compositional palette), PBQ address it with infectious enthusiasm and musicianly poise; a review of the band’s live sound (‘powerful, punchy compositions with a snappy delivery’) hits the nail squarely on the head.