Gaz Hughes, Nuclear Bebopalypse ***1/2

-Esque is more: Easy to like and appreciate especially if you love and take Art from hard bop, 'The Message' from Nuclear Bebopalypse was a track of the week in these pages in January. Gaz Hughes plays in the Art Blakey mould and this north of …

Published: 27 Feb 2024. Updated: 54 days.

-Esque is more: Easy to like and appreciate especially if you love and take Art from hard bop, 'The Message' from Nuclear Bebopalypse was a track of the week in these pages in January. Gaz Hughes plays in the Art Blakey mould and this north of England drummer-composer likes to deliver 1950s-soaked originals written in the spirit of Bu - Hughes alongside pianist Andrzej Baranek and bassist Gavin Barras, each of the three players contributing tunes. Hughes piece 'White Noise' lands in an AfroCuban dimension while the second part of the title track is the beefiest. Barras' riff takes us into 'Shootin' from the Hip' that consequently proves the hookiest of the numbers and contains Baranek's most impressive soloing.

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Paula Rae Gibson feat. Matthew Bourne, Loving In Real Time, 33 Xtreme ***1/2

The whispery, noir-ish, avant-garde singer Paula Rae Gibson here with avant Memorymoog synth innovator pianist and improviser Matthew Bourne collaborating in response to PRG's No More Tiptoes released just over 15 years ago has come up with some of …

Published: 26 Feb 2024. Updated: 50 days.

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The whispery, noir-ish, avant-garde singer Paula Rae Gibson here with avant Memorymoog synth innovator pianist and improviser Matthew Bourne collaborating in response to PRG's No More Tiptoes released just over 15 years ago has come up with some of her best work. That seems clear. Bourne is more of a natural collaborating pianist with PRG than Kit Downes in more recent years proved - but the dark nocturnes of their work together on Emotion Machine certainly provoked a spectral gleam and purrs of approval from some nevertheless.

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But 'Black Hole' from the singer's past work is the classic and remains so - in those earlier days the Londoner was probably influenced by Kate Bush and Goldfrapp more than she is now - after all she worked with Goldfrapp's Will Gregory on that powerful song. And yet the spark of originality that PRG habitually instils is deepened once more with longstanding doyen of the Leeds free-jazz and electronic/improv/punk-jazz scene, Bourne.

Turning to Loving In Real Time, the droney 'Whatever This Is' is a highlight of several. As for Bourne on 'Kisses Down His Back' the power of his classic solo 2021 album Désinances albeit approaching him from a different context but recalling his sense of cadence and flow from that work springs to mind. Long term fans of Bourne will also think back to his acclaimed Bourne/Davis/Kane days and their magnum opus Lost Something. Bourne's cello contribution on 'More Could Be Less' acts more like a bassist's role and like a brake as does his use of harmonium in that latter regard on 'Ride the Light,' a surprising outcome and so stimulating in a number of ways. Paula Rae Gibson and Matthew Bourne, photos: press. Out on 5 April