Ken Stubbs, a Day, a Way ****

Individuality is all. A tonic to hear a new small group version of Ivo Neame's 'The Rise of the Lizard People' from Glimpses of Truth. First thought. Loose Tubes-era alto sax ace Ken Stubbs who is now living down under was excellent last year on …

Published: 25 Nov 2022. Updated: 15 months.

Individuality is all. A tonic to hear a new small group version of Ivo Neame's 'The Rise of the Lizard People' from Glimpses of Truth. First thought.

Loose Tubes-era alto sax ace Ken Stubbs who is now living down under was excellent last year on 3 Shadows 4 Angels (man of Kent Ivo cropped up there) and now here the piece is in quartet formation instead with avant superhero Craig Taborn and bass-drums team Hirst and Barker again from the 3 Shadows recording.

Stubbs tunes and Django Bates numbers Cashin' In's 'Underfelt' (1988) and the scampering 'Dimple' from the highly collectable First House gem Cantilena (1989) which of course Stubbs led complete the avantbop feast. It's quite moving in places dotted with melancholia, Taborn gels extremely well with the Aussies. Sinuous detailed deconstructed scalar troughs and peaks detonate the senses. Stubbs is tender and reflective. A welcome surprise. Let's hope Stubbs can play some Blighty clubs some day again - after all the tube, loose or otherwise, doesn't run to Byron Bay. Ken Stubbs, photo: publicity shot.

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Work Money Death, Thought, Action, Reaction, Interaction, Ata Records ***

Immediately into the spiritual jazz domain on opener 'At Once Familiar' so on a UK level if you are into Nat Birchall this is for you - international readers it's a Pharoah vibe, and very nicely arranged with harp and woodwind tones that has the …

Published: 25 Nov 2022. Updated: 17 months.

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Immediately into the spiritual jazz domain on opener 'At Once Familiar' so on a UK level if you are into Nat Birchall this is for you - international readers it's a Pharoah vibe, and very nicely arranged with harp and woodwind tones that has the earthy tenor sax lead keeping it real. From the north of England it's Leeds scenester tenorist Tony Burkill with bassist Neil Innes, drummer Sam Hobbs, Chris Dawkins on guitar and Gareth Wilkins on harp plus horns core in the sound and with stimulating spoken word from KOG, Kweku of Ghana, all swirling meaningfully in the cosmic vamp-heavy mist.

Burkill back in 2017 released the rousing Work Money Death with some of the same personnel.

'Freedom as a Heartfelt Song' meanders a bit to be fair but taking your time - and lighting a few joss sticks while eyeing a bloody big bong as you listen - is all part of the process. 'Song of Healing' opens with a serene Wilkins touch, there's an Indo flavour and Burkill experiments with distortion and is more Albert Ayler-like here which is interesting. 'Same As Before' has the ''spatial reality'' spoken word element and the bass riff practically chants along within the dotted-by-livewire percussive groove. Pretty good overall - more please soon. Out today

Tony Burkill, photo: press