CD REVIEW: Ryan Quigley - What Doesn’t Kill You



Ryan Quigley - What Doesn’t Kill You

(Whirlwind Recordings WR4691. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)


Ryan Quigley bookends his new CD with two haunting solo trumpet pieces - Prologue and Epilogue respectively. In between these sit eight tunes featuring his transatlantic quintet, fitting neatly into modern post bop, full of sparkle and dynamics.

Quigley’s tunes are undoubtedly helped by the quality of his bandmates. Clarence Penn on drums is brimming with energy and drive, but subtle enough when the music calls for it. Steve Hamilton's electric and acoustic keyboard work is imbued with a blues and funk sensibility; and the rhythm section is anchored down by Michael Janisch’s perceptive bass playing - solid when it needs to be, but imaginative and exciting when the music calls for it. Quigley is joined in the front line by saxophonist Paul Booth, an eloquent addition.

The quintet numbers are either lively and boppy, or slow and thoughtful. The former, such as Doctor Stage and Say What You See, allow the two horns to fly higher and higher in their solos - Quigley is particularly adept in the upper register, though he uses it sparingly. The faster pieces also the rhythm section shine, too, especially Penn, whose contributions are guaranteed to raise the level of excitement.

The slower tunes have their own beauty. On Fire Eyes, the long notes from the horns and bowed bass are balanced by cascades of notes from the piano and gentle mallet work on the drums; it reaches a crescendo with Quigley coming in high above, with more long notes. His trumpet sounds distant from the other instruments, but it's spine tingling.

Green Light is another slow number, full of late night atmosphere; Hamilton takes a lovely extended solo with just Janisch and Penn backing him before they are joined by trumpet and sax. Janisch has the floor to himself as he explores Intro To Hymn To Their Homeland, leading naturally enough into Hymn To Their Homeland itself. This features Booth on flute, over which Quigley solos. The tune builds and and builds with cracking intensity.

Some of the tunes on this record wouldn't sound out of place on some of the classic Blue Note releases from the 1960s, but with a wholly modern sensibility that means it is hugely enjoyable

Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.

Ryan Quigley Quintet play Pizza Express Jazz Club, London on 5 September, followed by dates in UK and Ireland. (SEE OUR FEATURE WRITTEN BY RYAN QUIGLEY)

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