The spheres of contemporary jazz, English/Celtic folk and world music unite in this inviting five-track debut EP from Flekd – an acoustic quintet who, between them, draw on an impressive depth of musical experience, possessing the skills to convincingly weave together these various strands into cohesive, chamber music soundscapes.
Fronted by flautist and accordionist Jane South, the line-up also consists of Rebecca Nash (piano), Moss Freed (guitar), Rob Paterson (double bass) and Matt Fisher (drums and percussion). Their original compositions are immediately accessible and, although quite possible to tag ‘easy listening’, the carefully constructed lines and opportunities for considered improvisation possess an integrity and sophistication which becomes increasingly appealing.
Goodson's expectant piano and flute rhythms introduce an atmosphere which bustles with an amiable new-age lightness, each member of the band sensitively gauging their contribution – and it’s those qualities of listening and responding which integrate their sound so well. Moss Freed’s alter ego as a hard-pushing jazz/rocker is exchanged here, in Black-a-Tor, for precise, finger-picked acoustic guitar which blends closely with Jane South’s homely-then-zestful accordion; and Matt Fisher’s tabla-toned toms combine with Rebecca Nash’s legato jazz piano to create a fresh ‘world’ ambience (the gentler instrumental side of, say, The Bothy Band or Michael McGoldrick may come to mind, but this feels like a new cross-genre angle).
Flitterflam, a reposeful flute melody subtly embellished by guitar and piano tracery, is redolent of lazy, cloud-passing Summer afternoons; and Afro-Irish show-stealer Trip to Inishbofin (presumably the tiny Galway island) ticks along to finely-weighted bass/percussion and open, lyrical jazz piano expressions. Reel-like Twice as Nice closes the 25-minute programme, Rob Paterson’s articulate double bass soloing adding weight to the tight briskness of a merry tune in which all players take their chance to shine.
The EP debut foreruns a work-in-progress first album further down the line, and this assured first recording suggests Flekd to be a successful collaboration which can surely grow, perhaps even widening its scope into grittier, more dramatic territories – an intriguing prospect indeed.