Okay, cards on the table. I don’t know much about big band music…or jazz…or big band jazz…but I know a good tune when I hear it, and I’m listening to it right now. I even recognise some of the names of the players who make up, what is essentially a jazz supergroup, all playing under the watchful eye and deft baton of Gordon Goodwin.
Fusion is the keyword here, and across these five tracks, they blend the expected jazz grooves with some less obvious sonic moves. Opening with the title track itself, we are greeted with what sounds like the hippest Hollywood spy blockbuster theme tune in history, (“The name’s Bond, Jazz Bond!) a long and adventurous piece taking in funky basslines, cool and dramatic ebbs and flows, sixties chamber pop elegance, smart cross-talking instrumental breaks, and guitar solos that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Steely Dan record! (I’m not armed with enough generic reference points to properly describe these skilled musicians but in my world that is high praise indeed.)
Six Feet Away rolls, rocks and gracefully grooves, My Man Sam is played with respect for past sonic tradition as much as it sets the tone for the way forward, and Cell Talk is an adventurous piece wandering between the deft and delicate and the ornate and elaborate, reinventing itself many times before it puts the EP to bed.
As I say, I don’t really have the language or references to write about such music like an expert, having grown up on “white-boys-with-guitars-music,” but I know what I like, and I like this. A lot.