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Being Alive – Hayley Lam (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a2182459859_16Tell someone that you are a piano led, instrumental, jazz fusion outfit these days, particularly around Hayley Lam’s New York base of operations and I’m sure you have to then spend the next ten minutes explaining that you are not another bunch of “out there” bunch of avant-gardeners. Even in the world of jazz music, itself prone to structural complexity and dynamic intricacy, originality doesn’t have to be complex and that is the place where we find Hayley and here band operating.

Given the use of synths as much as more traditional keyboard sounds, the over all effect seems to wander slightly into prog-rock territory, always a sonic brother of jazz anyway, but the fluid structures and skittering beats are very much the modern and forward thinking edge of jazz. And if the genre seems to have an unhealthy attachment to its own stalwarts and standards, this is a breath of fresh air, a forward thinking reaction to an often overly nostalgic attitude.

I’m not sure what the purists might make of this, it will probably have them muttering about the sanctity of American musical traditions as they drink their Belgian lager out of a French made glass, but then again that’s the whole point I guess.

 

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