Album review

Let Spin – ‘Thick As Thieves’

Let Spin: Thick As Thieves

(Efpi Records FP043. Album review by Tony Dudley-Evans)

Let Spin is the quartet of Chris Williams on alto saxophone, Moss Freed on guitar, Ruth Goller on bass guitar and Finlay Panter on drums.  The group is marking its 10th anniversary with this release, Thick As Thieves, which – appropriately – has ten tracks.  The quartet is very much a collective group with each member contributing compositions.

The music ebbs and flows throughout the album moving between elegant melodies and powerful collective improvisation.  It often breaks down into improvised duets between saxophone and guitar, electric bass and drums, also into trio passages and full on quartet passages with extensive use of effects from guitar and bass.  Each individual has a distinctive voice, but in their various combinations build a strong group identity.

An interesting and important aspect of the album is the way they play through, with no breaks between the tunes.  The album therefore becomes a complete continuous set, allowing the intensity of the listening experience to build. At a recent concert at mac Birmingham, as part of a national tour to launch the album, the group followed a similar pattern playing two sets without taking any kind of break in either, going in and out of the written material  at junctures that were not planned in advance.  Each member of the quartet had the right to take the music into a new tune at any given point.  This method, we understand, was also followed when making the studio recording, although there was some editing after the sessions, with all four members contributing to the process.

Let Spin has an interesting and refreshing way of integrating written material and free improvisation.  It certainly made the gig at mac one my highlights of the jazz year in Birmingham.  The album equally deserves to be in the list of top albums of 2022.       

Categories: Album review

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