64CD - Deep Tide Quartet - See One, Do One, Teach One
Release date 1 August 2017
Third CD release in the Discus Quartets series.
Open ended jazz playing with no stylistic limits – written scores, graphic scores, improvisation – improvisation which is inclusive of melody and structure – whatever we feel like playing – plenty of space for the music to develop its direction – concentrated and careful listening - ultimately rooted in, and building on the tradition of, pure jazz skill no matter where the music takes us.
Martin Archer – saxophones
Kim Macari – trumpet
Laura Cole – piano
Walt Shaw – percussion and live electronics
Deep Tide Quartet suggest that this double CD set should be listened to as two separate albums at different times; and indeed it does feel like witnessing a couple of well-paced concerts in intimate venues due to the close recording. The quartet are Discus label founder Martin Archer on saxes and bass clarinet, Laura Cole on piano, Kim Macari on trumpet, and Walt Shaw on percussion and electronics, all with pedigrees too long to list here.
The group play a mixture of compositions and improvisations, and graphic scores and jams later restructured in the studio by Archer, in a deliberately open-ended remit with, in his words, “no stylistic limitations”. This sort of approach is exemplified by “Song For Gato Barbieri”. It begins with a theme by Shaw that gradually swells into a vertically layered improvisation, which displays raw lyricism and a remarkable intra-group empathy. Sometimes, in a improvisation like “Deep Tide”, the players state melodic and rhythmic motifs, which they then repeat or modify to give the feel of a spontaneous composition.
If the group have a signature it’s their use of breathing space, with musicians, all exceptional listeners, happy to drop out for long periods as and when appropriate. “I Am Here / Phone In Rice 1” is a directed improvisation by Cole that’s based on a series of her photos. This results in a lengthy, episodic piece with the ensemble nibbling on one or two notes before dropping into near silence, cut with outbursts of red-blooded playing, including the most avian sax solo one could hope to hear. By contrast the improvised “The Self-Threading Needle” features some powerful group playing that hints obliquely at Latin American and Iberian themes.
The title track, an Archer composition, is one of the set’s most compelling pieces and is beautifully played by all. Shaw’s tumbling rhythms, with their flickering fine details, delineate considerable spaces, into which the brass sporadically enter and leave playing sombre themes, which are garnished by Cole’s clusters of high piano notes. – Mike Barnes THE WIRE.