Label: Leo Records – CD LR 280
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: Dec 1999
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded on 20 March 1999 at Ouistiti, Paris.
Mastered By – Mark Haliday
Mixed By – Dan Warburton, David Cook
Photography By – Dan Warburton, Jean-Luc Guionnet
Producer – Dan Warburton, Leo Feigin
Recorded By – David Cook
01 Somehow, Anyhow . . . 12:54
02 Hic Et Nunc, In Limine . . . 17:20
03 Y2k . . . 12:39
04 Truth And Reconciliation [To Archie Shepp] . . . 7:12
Dan Warburton – piano, violin
Jean-Luc Guionnet – alto saxophone
François Fuchs – bass
Edward Perraud – drums, percussion
" ...Dan Warburton's outfit were this event's genuine new find. Recalling The Joe Manieri Trio's revelatory performance at the first Leo Records festival back in 1996, Warburton, on piano and violin, with his group of young, top notch French players, stretched the barest of tunes until they snapped, burst and split at the seams and left the crowd hungry for more..."
This is an enjoyable disk of mostly spontaneously composed jazz by four Paris-domiciled players, led by multi-instrumentalist, jazz critic and British ex-pat Dan Warburton. (As an added bonus, the CD is graced with a tres chic cover photo of Warburton’s toddler-aged son pondering the universe amid a pile of free jazz LPs.) All but one of the four tunes on Return are freely improvised, but, like a selection of Muhal Abrams pieces from the Seventies and Eighties, they cover quite a wide range of approaches. The talented alto saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet goes to work early on the opening "Somehow, Anyhow," strutting impressive Evan Parker-influenced barrages. But the piece flies into another gear altogether with only a couple minutes to go (at about the 11-minute mark) when (pianist/violinist) Warburton, breaks out his serious, (and seriously fast) neo-hard-bop chops. The following "Hic et Nunc, in Limine" (by percussionist Edward Perraud) is in the late Coltrane, devotional mode, with Warburton going Alice C. one better by jumping off the three-chord arpeggiated background train whenever he feels like it. The balance is a bit heavy on the piano and drums on this one, but since Warburton and Perraud are doing such interesting stuff, it’s not really a problem. The tune gets stuck in a little rut (again at about the 11-minute mark) but the gentlemen climb out winningly after a few perilous moments atop some of the most exciting playing on the disk. "Y2K" begins with a briskly sawed note on Francois Fuchs' bass. The other players dance exotically around this single repeated pitch for a while, with Warburton taking up a Jenkins- drenched violin. Unlike its predecessors, this tune changes directions after only about half of eleven minutes, when Warburton switches to modal piano, and the bass and drums move into a funky one-chord space jam. Guionnet’s sax solos are terrific on this tune - high-energy urban heat. After a couple of minutes, Warburton leaves Tyner Town for Bergman Bay and the boys buy vacation property there. The downside here is Fuchs extreme reluctance to leave the original tonic even after the other players get more adventurous.. There’s more funk (and single-key dominance) on the closing "Truth and Reconciliation," which, though dedicated to Archie Shepp, brought to my mind the smiling faces of Errol Garner and Ray Charles. Warburton’s (again highly funkified) piano is once more the dominant voice, with Guionnet’s wailing alto and Perraud’s grooving drums the featured supporting actors. This time, Fuchs is forced to fall into the role of follower, since Warburton is calling all of the bass, chord, and rhythm shots, and a single pitch on bass would not have been appropriate. (As a sometimes "bossy" improvising keyboardist myself, I often find that when music that is both tonal and - in some sense - free is the order of the day, the best thing to do is to leave the bassist home: that way there’ll be neither conflict nor subservience.) In any case, I hope to hear more from this exciting, eclectic group. Like cellist Matt Turner’s group Chum, this gang is simply fun to listen to.
_ By Walter Horn
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