CD Review: Jack Davies Big Band



Jack Davies Big Band
(V&V Music VAVM0003. CD Review by Chris Parker)


‘An astonishing range of moods and colours’ is what’s promised in the press release accompanying this, trumpeter/composer Jack Davies’s debut big-band album, and that’s exactly what it delivers, in spades.

Five of its ten tracks are taken up by a 21-minute suite based on George Orwell’s perennially popular (and relevant) novel Nineteen Eighty-four, beginning with ‘Telescreen’, an appropriately dirge-like musical evocation of a marching army transporting prisoners which culminates in a frenzied burst of free jazz (the ‘two-minute hate’), then moves through a saxophone/electronics passage sparked by Winston Smith’s diary writing, a ballad (featuring altoist Martin Speake), ‘Dance of the Proles’, a piano solo (by Tom Taylor) incorporating birdsong, and finishes with an elegant, affecting brass chorale (‘Mr Charrington’s Shop’) that introduces a beautifully judged tenor contribution from one of the album’s most striking soloists,Josh Arcoleo.

The album’s other five tracks include a ravishing Speake feature inspired by Romeo and Juliet, a free-for-all based on a mixed-media artwork by Jon Pylypchuk , and a mesmerising piece, ‘Circle’, for trumpeter Nick Smart and saxophonist Mike Chillingworth.

In short, this is a multi-faceted, wide-ranging set of powerful but subtly nuanced compositions that reveal fresh delights with each repeated playing, and Jack Davies, as producer Colin Towns comments, ‘is producing a very strong and inventive body of work, and he’s only just begun’.

The CD launch gig is at Kings Place on Saturday June 23rd. Tickets HERE

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