CD REVIEW: Corrie Dick Impossible Things

Corrie Dick Impossible Things
(Chaos Collective CC006. CD Review by Peter Jones)

Corrie Dick is much more than a drummer, and Impossible Things is far more than a ‘drummer’s album’. It provides evidence of a thoughtful, sensitive and imaginative all-round composer and bandleader with a lot to say: the music is brimming with optimism, energy and ideas. Not for nothing does Dick call them his ‘Band of Joy’.

The album is bolstered on the distaff side by the ubiquitous Alice Zawadzki (vocals, violin and some of the lyrics), and two of Dick’s colleagues in Blue-Eyed Hawk - Laura Jurd (trumpet), and – off-stage – Lauren Kinsella, who also helped out with lyrics. Other band members include Joe Webb and Matt Robinson on keys, Joe Wright and George Crowley on saxophones, Felix Higginbottom on percussion and Conor Chaplin on bass.

Soar features a joyous, surging melody led mainly by Robinson’s piano, with a spoken poem-cum-love song by Zawadzki, whose voice really shines throughout the album. Dick’s Scottish heritage comes through on King William Walk, with a fiddle/whistle melody reminiscent of some Scottish dance, albeit you’d tie yourself in knots trying to figure out the time signature; it then morphs into something faintly African. On Six Impossible Things, we are in the world of Alice – Through the Looking Glass, as well as Zawadzki – since the lyric refers to the White Queen’s remark to the eponymous heroine: Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.. Annamarrakech is a gorgeous, swooping tune with an airy solo by Laura Jurd, a celebration of the time Dick went to Morocco with his girlfriend and played with local musicians in Djemaa el-Fnaa square.

The mood softens with Farewell Modhachaidh, a lovely breathy piece about the home of Dick’s grandparents on the Isle of Skye. Lock Your Heart Up subtly prolongs the mood before evolving into a typically flamboyant soprano saxophone riot featuring Joe Wright. Like everything else on the album, it feels very free and spontaneous, while remaining intensely melodic. Everyone joins in on backing vocals on the mysteriously-titled What has Become of Albert? and the album ends with Don’t Cry, which Dick refers to as his calm-after-the-storm moment. This features another sweet, breathy vocal from Zawadzki, complete with background creaks and clicks which only add to the ambience, and the track fades out very slowly with an extended coda of chiming piano, overlaid with gorgeous vocal and trumpet improvisation.

Link: Interview with Corrie Dick

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