Dave Hamblett - Light at Night
(Whirlwind Recordings WR4631. CD Review by Chris Parker)
The Whirlwind label has established itself, in a remarkably short time, as a natural home for music of power and quality, so it is no surprise to find that both the playing and composing of drummer Dave Hamblett are lively, imaginative and bristling with creative energy.
He has become, since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 2010, a busy part of the London scene, performing with the likes of the late Abram Wilson, Yuriy Galkin and Nick Smart, and he is thus well placed to handpick a sextet eminently suitable for his own compositional purposes: saxophonists Josh Arcoleo and Joe Wright, keyboard player Ivo Neame, guitarist Alex Munk and bassist Calum Gourlay.
Hamblett’s material, while hard-driving and refreshingly direct, contains just enough rhythmic wrinkles and harmonic sophistication to engage the brain as well as the heart, and with its twin-saxophone frontline buoyed by a great rhythm section and tellingly augmented by Munk’s intelligent guitar, the band shines throughout in both solo and ensemble capacities.
A pleasingly varied set of punchy but carefully constructed compositions, Light at Night is a great calling card for the band’s forthcoming UK tour, to be launched at the Forge in Camden on 8 February and concluding at the Vortex on 4 March.