CD REVIEW: John Warren and The Brass Project Live! – The Traveller’s Tale

John Warren and The Brass Project Live! – The Traveller’s Tale
(Fledgling Records LC14811. CD Review by Frank Griffith)

Canadian-born composer, John Warren’s The Traveller’s Tale was actually recorded in 1993 and features John Surman on numerous saxophones as well as alto and bass clarinets. Other stalwart blowers include trumpeters, Guy Barker and Steve Waterman, as well as trombonists Pete Beachill and Malcolm Griffiths. The rhythm team of Chris Laurence, bass, and drummer John Marshall anchor the proceedings as there is no chordal accompaniment (piano or guitar), leaving the harmonies to the brass underpinnings.

This piece is a melodious suite of compositions inspired by the stories of John Warren’s grandfather, Jack, who decided to become a soldier of fortune travelling the world in search of employment. He ended up in Montreal working for the Canadian railways for 40 yerars.

Bassist Laurence, demonstrates his lyricism with his solo on Elegy as does Griffiths’ boisterous trombone on Hindustan Nights. The opening number Dawning, plangent by nature, succumbs to the more freewheeling The Jouney Home, bringing Surman to the fore with his tumultuous solo on his burly baritone sax.>

Warren’s strengths demonstrate an embodient of themes and motifs inspired by the likes of Kenny Wheeler and Gil Evans (also Canadians) giving the listener a distinctive North American quality. The 11-piece Brass Project catapults Surman’s capricious soprano sax dancing amid the angularly scissoring brass counterpoint on the uptempo blues New Horizons, bringing the suite to a climactic close.

The Traveller’s Tale is a tone poem of sorts that effectively charts the travels of Jack Warren, with a modern-day jazz sensibility. A real find, this, and please grab it for your own journey.

The performance of The Traveller’s Tale in the London Jazz Festival reuniting Warren with John Surman will be a special event. The original rhythm team of bassist Chris Laurence and drummer John Marshall will provide peerless momentum for an ensemble drawn together from the ranks of the Royal Academy of Music jazz course

The Travellers Tale will be performed on Sunday 12 November at 7.30pm in Hall Two, Kings Place as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2017. 

LINK: Interview with John Warren about The Traveller’s Tale

Categories: miscellaneous

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