Chris Biscoe - baritone & alto sax; Allison Neale - alto sax; Colin Oxley - guitar; Jeremy Brown - bass; Stu Butterfield - drums
Exploring afresh the freewheeling, wonderfully melodic interpretations of standard material recorded 50 years ago by Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond on Blues in Time and Two of a Mind, this new band promises to evoke the spirit of these classic recordings while giving free reign to the personalities of the musicians.
The Mulligan and Desmond recordings were by a quartet of baritone and alto sax, bass and drums. CD re-releases included some tracks with guitar added.
The first CD by the band, Then and Now (Trio tr597), will be released on March 17th, 2017, and distributed by Proper Music and includes three performances by the quartet (two saxes, bass and drums) and four on which guitarist Colin Oxley joins us. Colin’s playing is an object lesson in how to enrich the harmonies and add to the rhythmic drive without detracting from the interplay between the saxes which is the hallmark of this band.
Easy Living, Lover and The Way You Look Tonight include parts of the arrangements featured on the recordings made together by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. Arrangements transcribed by Allison Neale.
How Deep Is The Ocean is a new arrangement by Allison Neale.
Rest Easy (based on the chords of Star Eyes) and Then and Now, which reconstructs the chord sequence of What’s New, were composed for the band by Chris Biscoe.
Multi-instrumentalist Chris Biscoe is perhaps best known for his alto sax work, but has long shown a particular affinity with the baritone sax, having been featured on that instrument with the big bands of Hermeto Pascoal, Tony Kinsey, Graham Collier and the New York Composers Orchestra, as well as in various Mike Westbrook Bands and John Williams’ Baritone Band.
In recent years Chris has released two CDs with Tony Kofi, as well as Profiles of Mingus.
Saxophonist and clarinetist Chris Biscoe has been on the British scene for a long time, but he's made the territory between postbop and free-jazz entirely his own, and his sophisticated tributes to the jazz giants are always distinctive. John Fordham, The Guardian
American born altoist Allison Neale’s beautifully crafted lines
evoke the spirit of Paul Desmond and Art Pepper, with whom she has a particular affinity.
She has performed alongside leading international artists such as Adelaide Hall, Bud Shank and Scott Hamilton, as well as featuring in the John Dankworth Generations Band and the Back to Basie Orchestra.
Her latest CD I Wished on the Moon was released in early 2015.
Inspired by such masters as Art Pepper and Paul Desmond, she has her own distinctive style in the same cool-intense idiom. Dave Gelly, The Observer
Colin Oxley established an international reputation as a member of the Stacey Kent group, and has gone on to work with Harry Allen, Warren Vache, Houston Person, Dave Newton and numerous other leading musicians. He is also professor of guitar at the Guildhall School of Music.
One of the most sought after bass players on the UK scene, Jeremy’s credits include Peter King, Phil Woods, Art Farmer, Johnny Griffin, Anita Wardell, Curtis Stigers and Kate Williams.
Stu Butterfield has worked with many leading figures, but has made his major contribution in The Great Wee Band with Henry Lowther and Jim Mullen, in Mingus Moves, and in the Profiles Quartet with Chris Biscoe and Tony Kofi.
This is a great new project, Chris Biscoe and Allison Neale have been inspired by the sound, the vibe, the tunes, of Two of a Mind a beautiful and memorable album recorded in August 1962 by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan, and formed a quartet with bassist Jeremy Brown and drummer Stu Butterfield and set about re-creating and dwelling in the world of its quiet delights. Two of a Mind is the second album which Mulligan and Desmond recorded together, and it is a classic.
The first thing to notice about Allison Neale and Chris Biscoe in action is the sheer beauty of the sound they both make, and how well-matched they are. They both happen to play on vintage Conn instruments, but that is incidental. Allison Neale is steeped in the heritage of players such as Art Pepper and Paul Desmond, Chris Biscoe's range as a player is very wide, but has that chameleon-like quality to step into a new sound-world and inhabit it as authentically as anyone.
Stu Butterfield spent virtually the whole of the first set which I heard playing brushes, his contribution is vital, bringing a bright sheen to the texture, constantly in motion. Jeremy Brown keeps the bass line under the saxophones sparse, but his tone is as ever full and authoritative, and he is among the most melodically convincing bassists around.
The absence of a harmony instrument means that the two horns do almost all the voice leadings, they need to interweave, to trust, occasionally to collide, but above all to interact and to react. There is a fifth band-member on the album, guitarist Jim Hall, and when Neale and Biscoe record the project they will be joined by Colin Oxley.
This project deserves to be heard as it progresses. I want to go and hear it again soon - and for the pure pleasure of it.
Allison Neale and Chris Biscoe - Two of a Mind Bulls Head, 2nd September 2015. Review by Sebastian Scotney
Source: London Jazz News - http://tinyurl.com/nzvsphr