David Series – Meerkat Parade
(Available from https://davidseries.bandcamp.com/releases. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
David Series‘ album, released last year, is a lively record, with enjoyable contributions from the rest of the quartet. His first record as a leader, the tunes hint at influences outside the usual jazz neighbourhood, with nods towards progressive and early psychedelic rock – but just the merest of nods: the execution is up-to-date modern jazz. Over its 40-odd minutes (which those of us who grew up in the age of vinyl might consider the perfect length for an album), it covers a fair amount of ground.
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The tunes are generally arranged around Series’ guitar melodies, then building in intensity. From the slow gentle bass by James Lindsay which opens the CD with the somewhat spacey Herzog through to the fast, rocky closer of Scoobie Snack (a Glasgow delicacy, so the internet assures me), the quartet maintain interest and imagination.
Huw Rees‘s piano is another key voice, particularly on oink [sic] and Hermwei: on the former it’s as if Rees is leading us for a walk around his keyboard. On Hermwei, a more intense track, his solo explores various avenues, starting tenderly but seeming at times splintered and a little jagged. Coming after a gentle guitar solo from Series, the contrast emphasises the movement and scope in the piece.
oink also develops over its length: its various sections give it a narrative feel, ending with the piano and guitar being electronically distorted – indeed, the whole CD sounds as if it has stories to tell. The quartet tell them well.
The David Series Quartet plays the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh on 28 February 2018.
Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.