Album reviews

Revival Room – ‘Revival Room’

Revival Room – Revival Room
(Efpi Records. Review by Tony Dudley-Evans)

Revival Room is both the name of the group and the title of the album coming out on Efpi Records, the Manchester-based label that has acted as a kind of musicians’ collective for jazz and improvising musicians in the North West. The group and album features Mark Hanslip on tenor saxophone, Adam Fairhall on Hammond B3 Organ and Johnny Hunter on drums. 

In the notes for the Bandcamp issue, Fairhall talks of how he wishes to develop an approach to the Hammond Organ that differs from that of legendary players of that instrument, such as Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff, and to build on the work of more contemporary players such as John Medeski and Alex Hawkins. So in his solos he develops long, complex melodic lines rather than the climaxes and the big sound associated with the instrument. This fits well with Hanslip’s inventive solos which move between a jazz and a free approach with rather more emphasis on the former.

There are nine tracks, four composed by Fairhall, and two each by Hanslip and Hunter. The album concludes with Carla Bley’s Ida Lupino tune, as do the trio’s live sets. The music is mostly in a jazz style with a head plus solos format throughout, with the solos following a fixed form. For example, Day Of Rest is a lovely jazz ballad with excellent solos from Hanslip and Fairhall, and April is an up tempo tune that begins with a kind of marching rhythm on the drums that leads into a punchy unison theme followed by fine solos on saxophone, organ and drums. On two tracks, Monobrow and Slippy, however, the solos from the saxophone and the organ move seamlessly and effectively into a free-er approach.

The album presents an excellent mix of tradition and experimentation, and of straightahead jazz and improvised music. The three musicians have been working together on this and other projects for many years and the strength of their collaborative spirit comes across very strongly on this recording.

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LINK: Revival Room on Bandcamp

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