‘’Well I'm not really worried about this,/But can some one please answer me this/Apart from on commentary, where else on earth/Can you hear the word 'aplomb' being used?’’
‘Two Chevrons Apart’ is not keeping a Half Man Half Biscuit homage in mind although where Moscow-born bassist Yuri Goloubev is around you'd swear that you could hear however impossibly a certain aplomb.
How encouraging let me begin by noting after that unavoidable if irrelevant diversion it is that Basho are back with another nowadays fairly rare record of theirs in a climate when small labels are struggling to retain a physical presence in the wake of the dominance of streaming and digital-only releases.
The London label’s output is not huge nowadays and their roster small. Yet they always put time and talent into what they are doing and have put out some fine records over the years. This new one to be released in April stands up tall with their finest.
Yuri Goloubev is fortunate to be both a top classical and jazz player although mostly he is known for his jazz work and associations particularly with piano great Gwilym Simcock.
Last time I caught him live was last summer when he was playing with Simcock at Ronnie Scott’s on that occasion also with the ex-Orient House Ensemble drummer Asaf Sirkis who is here on Two Chevrons Apart along with the fine John Taylor-influenced pianist John Turville and the erstwhile Chick Corea saxophonist Tim Garland who Goloubev also plays with in the Weather Walker trio.
Garland is on blistering form on soprano on opener ‘Beethoven and Schubert: Friends…?’ the tune alluding to Beethoven’s C minor piano sonata and Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata shaped by lyrically swinging swiftly twisting and turning modern jazz that sits alongside some of Chick Corea's experiments in form.
All eight tunes on the album are by Goloubev and the album was recorded at one of Europe’s top studios, Artesuono, in Italy with the great engineer Stefano Amerio at the console. The sound is as good as you’d expect it to be certainly in terms of life and lack of clinical sterility that you otherwise find all too often on some releases in this idiom.
The writing is even better than the album's handsome sound. Really this is the first reason that you should hear and get this record when it comes out. Goloubev should be thought of as much as a composer as a bassist from what we have here and the way he writes allows a lot of space for each player, the detailed lines are full of passion and contain a sense of discovery and direction.
Listening to each tune it is impossible to second-guess where the tune will end up because each piece has a sense of fresh undertaking that draws you close and involves you.
At the centre of the sound Goloubev manages to inject a good deal of propulsion to the onward motion of the sound and you will soon realise after a few listens how energy laden all the tunes are here without his method being at all showy. (I suppose in this regard Goloubev follows on in a line from Miroslav Vitouš' influential style.) Garland chooses soprano mostly, opting for tenor on a few tracks. The very humane interpretation that his timbral qualities on soprano contribute to the record lend it warmth and personality that enhance the listening experience throughout. SG
To be released on 17 April