CD Review: ACV – Busk

ACV – Busk
(Babel BDV13117. CD Review by Chris Parker)

Formed in the North East by bassist Andy Champion (who wrote seven of this album’s eight tunes), ACV made a debut album, Fail in Wood, in 2010, described by Ian Mann as ‘an intriguing synthesis of jazz and progressive rock with an agreeably dark, gothic edge’.

Much the same could be said of this recording: over Champion’s full-toned, lithe bass and the vigorous but sensitive drumming of Adrian Tilbrook, the tenor (and occasional rich baritone) of Graeme Wilson, the multi-hued guitar of Mark Williams and the carefully calibrated keyboard sounds of pianist Paul Edis weave a dark tapestry of sound that owes as much to the Canterbury scene as to out and out jazz.

Sometimes pleasantly swirling, at other times beefily galumphing, with occasional excursions into freedom sparingly embellished with electronics, ACV’s music is powerful and arresting enough to attract the more adventurous rock listener, while also containing enough rhythmic wrinkles to retain the attention of the most demanding jazz aficionado.

Wilson, who has improvised-music form with the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra, is a commanding soloist on both his horns, but it is the quality (and variety) of Champion’s compositions that make this album so immediately appealing.

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