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Close Up

Artist: Julian Siegel

Date of Release: 01/01/2002

Catalogue no: SoundCD 1001

Label: Sound

Price: £11

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

City of Dreams

8.12

2

 

Room 518

5.46

3

 

Shining Light

6.53

4

 

Mice in the Maze

5.53

5

 

In the Afterglow

7.42

6

 

Con Alma

8.22

7

 

Hero to New UFO

7.16

8

 

Young and Foolish

7.57

9

 

Sandpit

6.01

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

Liam Noble

Close Up features Julian Siegel on saxes and bass clarinet, Liam Noble on piano, Gary Husband on drums and Jeremy Brown on bass.

 

Reviews

 

16/11/2002 Peter Bacon BIRMINGHAM POST *****

Birmingham Post, November 16, 2002 Jazz CD of the week Five stars

Birmingham Post December 12, 2002 Jazz and World CDs of the Year

The format may be old - the straight (mainly) acoustic quartet of Saxophone, piano, bass and drums - and the style may be conventional - straight-ahead modern jazz - but the music which bursts from this disc makes the tried and trusted instrumentation and tradition sing anew -that's the most difficult challenge of all, and it's one that this saxophonist has risen to and more than met. The band helps: Liam Noble on piano, Jeremy Brown on bass and Gary Husband on drums. Noble goes for spikey, Monkish rhythms and crunchy chords, Brown plays the straight man, making everyone else sound better rather than drawing attention to himself, and Husband, making a welcome return to the drums after his attention-grabbing sessions on piano, pushes the other three constantly with his urgency and hugely exciting solos. Siegel himself switches from tenor to soprano mid-song, and also gives his bass clarinet an outing. On all of them he mixes different influences - Parker's bebop, Coltrane's sheets of sound, Wayne Shorter's gruff minimalism and Getz's lyricism -into a cohesive and personal voice. His compositions have a Shorterish concision, too. There are times on this disc when I thought of the great Coltrane quartet recordings, but not because any of the players sound like their predecessors. It's because they all sound like themselves but contribute to a common and unified musical creation where everything falls into place, and which has a great spiritual as well as intellectual depth. There's no room for a track by track listing of the delights to be found here - suffice to say it's an exceptionally fine disc.

 

12/12/0002 Kevin Le Gendre ECHOES ****

Julian Siegel 'Close Up'

'Siegel is a multi-instrumentalist with a twist.He plays loads of reeds instruments (I'm partial to his bass clarinet and tenor sax) and also a mean double bass; I once saw him do an excellent gig with Stan Sulzmann at a festival in Finland, the day after he'd whipped up a jazz-rockish storm with Partisans.What I saw over that weekend was that Siegel has musicality more than multi-instrumentalism in his favour. Beyond the cut and thrust dynamics of his tenor playing, the swirling shapes of his soprano or the aquatic breathing of his bass clarinet, it's the strength of Siegel's voice as a conceptualist and composer that really makes Close-Up work. Interfacing between the worlds of straightahead, free improv and dance grooves (the junglistic In The Afterglow), Siegel posits his sonic world with a coherence and strength of character that reflects the lucidity of a man who knows exactly who he is. No matter what he plays.'

 

01/11/0002 John Fordham THE GUARDIAN ****

Julian Siegel: Close-up
(Sound Recordings)

Nottingham-born Julian Siegel studied classical sax originally, but his jazz fan father's influence drew him toward jazz. He's also a double bassist, which may explain the harmony, tonal range and texture that further helps his work to stand out from the postbop melee. In recent years he has been a powerful if shadowy presence on the UK jazz sidelines. Nothing in his honourable CV so far would have quite prepared listeners for the leap forward represented by this session. The lineup certainly offers a clue, since it features in addition to the deftly supportive bassist Jeremy Brown two explosive local mavericks in pianist Liam Noble and drummer Gary Husband. But with the variety of the material, the quality of the improvising and the intelligent adaptation of several key strands in contemporary jazz, Siegel has taken a stride into a different musical league as both a player and a composer.
The opening City of Dreams sounds like a stripped-down chord cycle with glimpses of Giant Steps, but over a Latin feel. It builds through a freewheeling solo from Liam Noble with the tempestuous percussion of Husband. That development sets a tone for much of the uptempo music on the disc, repeating patterns swelling in dynamic intensity, but with the improvising resources rich enough to keep finding new turns in them. There is a squiggly, rather avant-classical melody of exhilarating intricacy and abrupt, staccato funk with a long winding melody full of sharp turns. Con Alma and Young and Foolish, both handled very lyrically but in a more straightahead manner, are the only non-originals, and Hero To the New UFO is a feature for Siegel's bass clarinet, eccentrically gyrating around a slow shuffle.
This is a set that, if it doesn't put Siegel's name in lights, will certainly crank up the wattage.

 

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