Change of tack here for trad trumpeter Peter Horsfall (Kansas Smitty’s, Basin Street Brawlers) as he supplements his formidable mastery of his instrument with vocals on an EP of four songs.
The songs are silky smooth and are a throwback to the 1930s and 40s, a kind of a sweet innocence prevailing.
While the songs are Horsfall’s he has also collaborated on the last one, ‘Cupid’s Arrows and Bow,' with cabaret singer Barb Jungr.
The EP is so brief it’s hard to gain the full picture. But the title track is the song that sticks in the mind most, with is lulling soft questioning and subtle phrasing.
Horsfall is with a small group (David Archer on guitar, Joe Webb, piano, and Dave O'Brien, bass) who provide gentle backing throughout; and it will be interesting how much his taste for vocals develops. But for me trumpet is still king with this talented player, the vocals a bit of a seductive diversion, for now at least.
The debut album of Devon-raised, Birmingham Conservatoire-educated guitarist Ben Lee, In the Tree covers a lot of territory, flavoured by the frequent clashes of guitar with the trombone of Richard Foote the five-piece has a modernistic small group chamber sensibility that draws on a whole mixbag of jazz and rock.
At its jazziest the organ swells of David Ferris give the ensemble plenty of motion and excitement and alto saxist Chris Young is a stimulating presence throughout. There are however some strange choices peppered about too it must be said. Whistling on ‘In the Tree’ I’m afraid wasn’t the greatest of brainwaves; and the gauche vocal on ‘Skateboarding on my Own’ again doesn’t add much. Put these gaffes down to experience.
Elsewhere there are flickers of great promise and drummer Euan Palmer injects plenty of spirit. Lee seems a little stuck in the middle between his jazz and rock influences and you get the feeling that he’d really just like to let rip fully but this setting doesn’t really allow him that opportunity.
Released on 21 October