REVIEW: Allison Neale and Chris Biscoe – Two of a Mind at the Bulls Head

Allison Neale (alto sax) and Chris Biscoe (baritone sax)

Allison Neale and Chris Biscoe – Two of a Mind
Bulls Head, 2nd September 2015. Review by Sebastian Scotney

This is a great new project, Chris Biscoe and Allison Neale have been inspired by the sound, the vibe, the tunes, of Two of a Mind a beautiful and memorable album recorded in August 1962 by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan, and formed a quartet with bassist Jeremy Brown and  drummer Stu Butterfield and set about re-creating and dwelling in the world of its quiet delights. Two of a Mind is the second album which Mulligan and Desmond recorded together, and it is a classic.

The first thing to notice about Allison Neale and Chris Biscoe in action is the sheer beauty of the sound they both make, and how well-matched they are. They both happen to play on vintage Conn instruments, but that is incidental. Allison Neale is steeped in the heritage of players such as Art Pepper and Paul Desmond, Chris Biscoe’s range as a player is very wide, but has that chameleon-like quality to step into a new sound-world and inhabit it as authentically as anyone.

Stu Butterfield spent virtually the whole of the first set which I heard playing brushes, his contribution is vital, bringing a bright sheen to the texture, constantly in motion. Jeremy Brown keeps the bass line under the saxophones sparse, but his tone is as ever full and authoritative, and he is among the most melodically convincing bassists around.

The absence of a harmony instrument means that the two horns do almost all the voice leadings, they need to interweave, to trust, occasionally to collide, but above all to interact and to react. There is a fifth band-member on the album, guitarist Jim Hall, and when Neale and Biscoe record the project they will be joined by Colin Oxley.

This project deserves to be heard as it progresses. I want to go and hear it again soon – and for the pure pleasure of it.

The next outing for Two of a Mind will be at Karamel in Coburg Rd N22 on Thursday 1st October

LINKS : Interview with Allison Neale

Podcast interview with Chris Biscoe
Blues in Time from 1957
Two of a Mind at Allmusic

Categories: miscellaneous

1 reply »

  1. Great gig at Karamel as well, and what a spot for jazz – great room and sound, friendly staff, wicked healthy food…I love this place

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