CD Review: Paul Carmichael - Wax is Melting



Paul Carmichael - Wax is Melting
(Change of Weather CHOW CD003, CD Review by Chris Parker)


Bassist Paul Carmichael has been a fixture on the jazz fusion scene since the late 1970s, collaborating with the likes of Ian Carr (Nucleus),Barbara Thompson (Paraphernalia) and Allan Holdsworth, and this album touches all the genre's contemporary musical bases, from basic funk to so-called 'world music' influences.

It begins with an irresistibly uplifting piece of jazz-funk, appropriately entitled 'The Destination', on which Carmichael's trademark rock-solid electric bass
drives a tight but rumbustious band through a rousing theme, embellished by a typically gusty alto solo from one of the album's many stellar guests, Nigel Hitchcock.

Thereafter, a suite inspired by the Icarus myth composed of the self-explanatory pieces 'Contemplation', 'Sea Below' and 'Wax is Melting' is followed by a lively, varied programme of material embracing everything from French-language rap (performed by Svenz on 'Go Go') to peppy latin rhythms ('Liberation Salsa') and – one of the highlights of the album – a haunting melange of dub, jazz and what Carmichael refers to as singer Graciela Rodriguez's 'Arabic and Spanish influences', entitled 'Jazz in the Desert'.

The album as a whole is graced by powerful solos from the likes of guitarist Carl Orr, trombonist Trevor Mires and trumpeter Martin Shaw, and by the strong, flexible vocals of longtime associate, Vanessa Haynes, but overall, it is the utterly dependable versatility and virtuosity of Carmichael himself, playing all manner of basses from fretless to acoustic, which draws the ear.

Wax is Melting will be launched on 23 May at the 606 Club.

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