Byron Wallen, Portrait: Reflections On Belonging, Twilight Jaguar

I heard some of these tunes a fortnight ago live and they were certainly smokin' in Old Holborn. Portrait is an engrossing homage to the multiculturalism of suburban Woolwich not a million miles away and is completely in keeping with trumpeter …

Published: 18 Feb 2020. Updated: 9 months.

I heard some of these tunes a fortnight ago live and they were certainly smokin' in Old Holborn. Portrait is an engrossing homage to the multiculturalism of suburban Woolwich not a million miles away and is completely in keeping with trumpeter Byron Wallen's long time approach of restless and eloquent global exploration.

The Wallen compositions have strong structures and are played by the same quartet that I heard that night plus on the album additionally Richard 'Olatunde‘ Baker playing congas and talking drums on three tracks and a primary school choir. A triumph. SG

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Matt Mayhall, Jeff Parker, Chris Speed, Fanatics, mattmayhallmusic.com

Tropes in 2016 was pretty stimulating, drummer Mat Mayhall even more Paul Motian-esque and echoing that emotion these small number of years on seeming even more taut and alive. This time around the great Jeff Parker remains. He is succinct and …

Published: 18 Feb 2020. Updated: 9 months.

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Tropes in 2016 was pretty stimulating, drummer Mat Mayhall even more Paul Motian-esque and echoing that emotion these small number of years on seeming even more taut and alive.

This time around the great Jeff Parker remains. He is succinct and meaningful as usual.

Paul Bryan who performed the role of bass guitarist before produces, engineers and even mixes the record instead. Oh and he provides his own vision. Keyboards are absent. There is a new rawness.

Reedist Chris Speed is again significant and contributes mightily. The tunes are Mayhall's and they have a winning concision to them plus there is a cover right at the end, on the bright side of the road in the joy of execution, of Bird's 'Dewey Square', and that is satisfying.

The clarity of the recording sound is excellent, especially well caught is the directness of the sax and when Mayhall unexpectedly explodes the kaleidoscope of accents are reset.

The tunes, cutting to the chase, make sense. When instrumental music in a band context seems like a human voice and breaks through all barriers, beyond even sheer groove as it does here, an ignited spark of the imagination has struck. That's more right than in any way wrong. SG

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Matt Mayhall photo: Bandcamp