RUBY, RUBY, RUBY: The cardinal virtues of this just appearing album, which features the saxophonist Andy Scott plus a big cast of players including pianist Gwilym Simcock, saxophonist Rob Buckland, bass guitarist Laurence Cottle and baritonist Chris Caldwell, are its sheer skill, passion and meatiness. The reeds have great quality, Scott has managed to incorporate plenty of light and shade for his ensemble to bask in and relax. The fun tune is a rip up of the cheesy Tom Jones medallion dangler Sex Bomb, think Weather Report here with the cologne of the Jaco Word of Mouth band scented through it, second thoughts that analogy, at least the cologne bit, might put you right off, customised by Scott for extra reediness and fewer wall plugs. Little Glass Box marks the end of the first part of the album and the beginning of the next, most of the tunes are either very short (Eighteen) or bulgingly long (the title track).
Listen in 20 minute shifts, three or four tunes at a time, for best enjoyment as the album might nail you to the floor given its intensity and huge detail. The emotional saxophone lead lines at time crowd like skiers about to slalom down a mountain and run like the wind. The great English saxophonist Barbara Thompson guests movingly on La Grande Image and jazz-rock lion Jon Hiseman drums on the tune which was recorded at the Colosseum legend’s studio.
Andy Scott + Group S, Ruby & All Things Purple, Basho ***1/2