CD REVIEW: Euan Burton - Too Much Love

Euan Burton - Too Much Love
(Whirlwind WR4662. CD Review by Mike Collins)

Too Much Love, bass player/ composer Euan Burton’s follow up to his 2012 Whirlwind release Occurences is as striking for his writing as for the elegant, lyrical fluency of this band of mainly long standing collaborators of Burton, pianist Tom Gibb, drummer Alyn Cosker and newcomer Adam Jackson on alto, all active on the Glasgow scene.

Titles like Prelude and Rhapsody nod at classical music references and it’s reflected in the sound of the opening sections, but both pieces evolve, blending all sorts of influences and evoking different moods. Prelude starts with flowing arpeggios and little contrapuntal melodies between piano and alto before a contrasting stately, elegiac theme emerges, rich chords underpinning a singing bass solo that gives away to a subtly accelerating piano solo. It’s a sweetly melancholic scene setter. Rhapsody starts with more drama and a real work out for Tom Gibbs at times sounding like he might be about to burst into Debussy like chordal cascades, at others edging towards a post-bop burn-up before another change of mood has the band settling into a cycling riff for a hard blowing alto solo.

Krakow has a more dance like feel. There’s an overtly folky, traditional trace through much of this music, whether hinted at by the pianist’s rhythmic left hand or in the showers of pentatonic phrases Adam Jackson sprinkles amongst solos on the more driving pieces. Fading Memories is the loosest in feel, a throbbing bass and a racing pulse from the cymbals anchor a slowly unfolding rubato melody before the band collectively explore the mood created. All that is Left and Too much love return to a more reflective atmosphere, both drawing on the interplay of the rhythm section and the warm blend of piano and alto to pack an emotional punch with strong melodic themes.

This is a short set, clocking in at around 35 minutes, but it’s a very satisfying collection and adds up to a very personal, distinctive statement from Burton as well as great performance from this fine band.

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