Reviewed by John Clare, December 1st, 2015
Jeremy Rose has achieved national and international recognition for his playing and composing with exotically influenced band The Vampires, and through impressive and quite intricately composed suites – on which he also plays. It is always very pleasant and reassuring when as distinguished a player as Mike Nock sits beside you and, unprompted, shows similar enthusiasm for a young player like Rose.
This disc is a third stream of his expression: a group of original pieces more obviously centred within the jazz tradition.This is, of course, something much more than a demonstration that the one time student has not forgotten all the forms and techniques learned from his teachers.
The forms here quite often depart in original ways. While it is rather more in the mainstream than the ska and reggae influences heard in The Vampires, it is often as polyrhythmic – sometimes juxtaposing and interweaving common time, as they say in the classics, with compound time(triple metre in other words) – and even at times as sun-drenced in feeling. And the jazz focus allows perhaps more licence for some high virtuosity. Sometimes Rose’s fluidity is a giddy delight, and this can be alternated with phrases of simple punch and pungency and high reaches that are fiercely “wailing” to adopt the argot of Louis Armstrong and his time which was a long time ago and lasted a very long time in fact.
The excitement generated would be less meaningful without the brilliant reflexes and empathy of the rhythm section listed above. They operate with the superb combination of looseness and precision you hear in jazz and ethnic musics. Oh, it’s very juicy and propulsive. Free yet rock steady.
Common time? These terms have become quaint. It just means in four. In this case sometimes four to the bar propulsive swing at delicious speed. So fast sometimes that you wonder how the rhythm section can time their subtle punctuations, or insert them between the units flying past.
Pianist Jackson Harrison – who has also won international recognition, is wonderfully articulate and swiftly thinking. Sometimes he chordally comps behind Rose and sometimes the two flower in free contrapuntal passages – reminding you in some ways of Dave Brubeck and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. Though very different in style. Two tracks are augmented by the bright electric sound and lyricism of Carl Morgan’s guitar. The similarities and contrasts of electric guitar and alto or soprano saxophone have always fascinated me (since the time of Charlie Parker in fact).
Some compositions are short, ingenious or at least infectious riffs underpinning or introducing improvisation, and sometimes they move through several permutations.
This disc has already been heard overseas and well praised. I have kept playing it well beyond the time needed to write something about it.