Kevin Figes Quartet – Tables and Chairs
(Pig Records PIG 04. CD review by Chris Parker)
For his fourth album as leader, saxophonist/composer Kevin Figeshas again surrounded himself with musicians sympathetic to – and skilled in interpretation of – his musical world, which consists chiefly of straightahead contemporary jazz (jaunty pieces with the occasional tricksy time signature) interspersed with flashes of drum and bass, free improvisation and tasteful funk.
Long-time collaborator Jim Blomfield (piano), bassist Will Harris and drummer Mark Whitlam bring a pleasingly informal live-in-the-studio feel to Figes’s pieces, their default setting an attractive breeziness well suited to the leader’s tumbling alto style, but the band is also capable of grittier playing (especially when Blomfield switches to Fender Rhodes), and even the perkiest numbers are likely to contain passages where airiness alternates with funky shuffling (‘Scrap Board’) or fleet double-time passages (‘Here You Are’).
An intelligently varied set also includes a dreamy ballad (‘For Becky’), a slightly more adventurous, multi-textured piece (‘Last Outpost’), and a baritone feature (‘Hability’), and overall, Tables and Chairs is a worthy successor to Figes’s work with the likes of Riaan Vosloo and Tim Giles and his more recent band, 4-Sided Triangle (reviewed HERE).