Tom Cawley – Catenaccio
(Ubuntu. UBU0024. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
“Catenaccio” is an Italian term for a style of football, apparently; and since most of the track titles have a link to football – several of them Italian – it’s a fair bet that Cawley or someone on his team – sorry, his band – is a football fan, and of Serie A in particular. I don’t know enough about football to report whether this has any effect on Cawley’s music, though this CD certainly represents an impressive team effort.
Cawley has led the piano trio Curios and is an integral part of Trio Red, another piano trio. So it was something of a surprise to realise on this record he plays only electronic keyboards and synthesizers, firmly in the pigeon hole marked “fusion”. I hope it’s not a permanent break with his past, but it certainly seems a productive one.
He is joined by four accomplished musicians: Gareth Lockrane on flute, Robin Mullarkey on bass, Chris Higginbottom on drums, and Fini Bearman on voice. Enough for a five-a-side team, then. Bearman’s wordless vocalese is key to the sound of Catenaccio: she uses her voice as another instrument, frequently harmonising with Cawley’s keyboard phrasing or setting out the theme.
Several of the eight tunes are up-tempo, a couple are slower and have a more romantic feel to them. Despite some less usual time signatures, the music flows; Mullarkey and Higginbottom manage to work up a groove with ease, and Cawley has written some very catchy tunes.
Lockrane’s flute is balanced with Bearman’s voice, though close in register. The solos from Lockrane, Bearman and Cawley himself sparkle. The album also sounds great – Cawley was the producer and mixer, and the engineer was Benedic Lamdin; together have captured a sound which is lively and crystal clear for each of the musicians. All in all, quite a result.
Tom Cawley launches Catenaccio at the Late Show at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club on Thursday 9 May
Categories: CD review