Robin Robertson (g); Colin Train (kybds, voc); Colin Cunningham (b); Jim Drummond, Al Pugh (d)
The Jazz Tigers are broadly speaking a jazz fusion outfit, who to these ears, tilt slightly more to the rock side than the jazz. As one would expect from such an aggregation the arrangements and rhythm section are tight, yet retain a lightness of delivery that prevents the music getting bogged down, and give proceedings a relaxed and enjoyable lilt.
All the tracks, with the exception of Sam Cooke’s ‘Let The Good Times Roll’, are originals penned by the band’s nominal leader, Robin Robertson. A quick resume for the guitarist show that he appears to be equally at home in rock, jazz, blues and indeed classical music, and this quiet confidence and sure-footedness is apparent in this current offering.
All the material is muscular yet lean without being overpowering, with Robertson’s themes getting the point across succinctly. ‘Bros’ has particularly taut groove that gives way to a straight 4/4 swing section that gives ample opportunity for Roberson to display his jazz chops to good advantage.
The aforementioned ‘Let The Good Times Roll’ has a vocal from Colin Train that adds variety and breaks up the set nicely, whilst the ballad is neatly handled by Robertson’s solo guitar feature ‘My View’, which is far too short at a mere 2 minutes 28 seconds, and has an endearing quality that would be nice to hear as full arrangement for the whole band.
An enjoyable set, that presents a band with some interesting things to say in their chosen genre, and who play for the music without sacrificing content and quality over displays of instrumental virtuosity.
For more information, and to buy the album check out www.robin-robertson.co.uk.
Malcolm MacFarlane – all instruments, programming & samples; with special guest John Burgess (clarinet)
Recorded Winter 2011-12
Previous encounters with guitarist MacFarlane have come from hearing his work with the Scottish Guitar Quartet, but this first release on his own Muzone Records imprint is an altogether different animal.
This all new project finds MacFarlane in the sometimes solitary world of the solo recording, electing to play or sample (nearly) all of the instruments himself, creating an electronic soundscape of some ingenuity.
Eschewing all displays of instrumental virtuosity, the guitarist has created a musical journey that unfolds slowly and patiently over the albums duration. Attention to the most miniscule detail is the thing here, as the music takes the listener along in its wake, as new ideas are subtly introduced.
The technical skill and patience, and according to MacFarlane, the sheer endurance and time required in such a project is immediately apparent, but at the end of the day it is the music itself that must speak most clearly and ensures the success of the venture as a whole.
It is with this in mind that MacFarlane has succeeded in creating a wholly satisfying set that, despite some fairly long tracks, in excess of the 12 minute mark, is curiously absorbing. Each musical idea is examined in the cold ‘winter’s’ light and allowed to develop to a logical conclusion without over overstaying its welcome, gently moving on and incorporating new themes and ideas. At times seemingly static passages move into a rhythmic groove that tugs at the ear before calm and serenity once again prevail.
This is a beautiful and absorbing disc that, by the guitarists own admission, is not jazz but will appeal to a wide spectrum of listeners.
Check it out at www.malcolmacfarlane.com.
You can purchase the album form iTunes and Amazon.