CD REVIEW: Leo Richardson Quartet - The Chase


Leo Richardson Quartet - The Chase
(Ubuntu Music UBU0005. CD Review by Jon Carvell)


One could be forgiven for thinking that sharp-suited saxophonist Leo Richardson had just emerged from a hard bop Tardis, having paid a visit to Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in the late 1950s.

On his debut album The Chase, Richardson dishes up eight original compositions which draw upon the legacy of Blue Note icons such as Horace Silver and Joe Henderson. Richardson’s burnished tone and the conviction in his phrasing evoke Go-era Dexter Gordon, and on the lightning-paced title track he’s joined by Quentin Collins (trumpet) who offers shades of Clifford Brown. But whilst there’s a rich seam of history running through the disc, the end result is refreshingly contemporary and feels more like one live set than a series of takes.

The first solo on opener Blues for Joe goes to bassist Mark Lewandowski, who provides an elegantly improvised musical hors d'oeuvre before Richardson enters proceedings with a cascade of energy and his sax set to flambé. Elisha’s Song is a slow-burning ballad which could have been recorded at Ronnie Scott’s at 1am, whilst Mambo is fiery and forthright. Elsewhere, Demon E wouldn’t be out of place on a reissue of Herbie Hancock’s Takin’ Off, and Mr Skid concludes proceedings with a grand tenor sax duel featuring guest Alan Skidmore.

There is an intuitive understanding and dynamism throughout which connects Richardson with Lewandowski and his rhythm section co-conspirators Rick Simpson (piano) and Ed Richardson (drums). And it’s this which really sets Richardson’s Quartet apart: an insatiable appetite for hard-grooving swing.

TOUR DATES

Nov 26 – The Talking Heads, Southampton
Nov 30 – Matt & Phred's, Manchester
Dec 1 – Opus 4 Jazz Club, Darlington
Dec 2 – Zeffirellis, Ambleside
Dec 4 – Kenilworth Jazz Club
Dec 5 – North Wales Jazz
Dec 7 – The Blue Boar, Poole
Dec 12 – Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London

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