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In the Meantime

Artist: Liam Noble

Date of Release: 03/03/2003

Catalogue no: SRCD4-2

Label: Basho

Price: £5.50

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

Once Over

7.47

2

 

Scam

6.48

3

 

Who Will Buy

6.50

4

 

Across the Park

6.19

5

 

Old Masters

6.34

6

 

Hello Boys

7.47

7

 

Waltz

7.06

8

listen

2B

5.24

9

listen

Diminishing Returns

3.38

10

 

The Bathroom Mirror

7.08

11

 

Close Your Eyes

4.18

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

Chris Biscoe, Paul Clarvis, Stan Sulzmann

In the Meantime features Liam Noble on piano, a multi reed frontline with Stan Sulzmann on tenor and soprano saxes and flute and Chris Biscoe on alto and soprano sax and alto clarinet, Mick Hutton on bass and Paul Clarvis on drums.

 

Reviews

 

01/05/2003 Jerry D'Souza AllAboutJazz.com

Liam Noble studied music at Oxford University, and after his postgraduate course at the Guildhall, he became the pianist for Stan Sulzmann. Noble was recommended by John Taylor, who had played with Sulzmann, who had played with Kenny Wheeler, who had played with Taylor. Noble then went on to join forces with Wheeler as well as with Lol Coxhill and John Stevens. All of this should stand in testimony to his skills as a piano player. That quality is underlined on this disc, which also strongly profiles his ability as a composer.

As a composer, Noble rows up different streams. He does this articulately and with finesse. Helping him translate the music into an avid listening experience is his band; they understand and they explore, bringing in several moments of delight and surprise. It comes in the tangent, the slight veer away from the line, the repeated motif or a shift in timbre, and it all leads up to anticipation for more.


The band gives the listener the “Once Over” steeped in the mainstream. Sulzmann lets his tenor define the mood and then squeezes out some twisted lines. He is high on the bounce as well, setting the tone and getting some nice support from Clarvis on the drums. The panorama opens to envelop Biscoe and Noble, the former coiled, the latter transparent and lighter. One good tune deserves another, and as they go traipsing “Across the Park” they bring in a rhythm that shifts, meter and pulse in flux until they all lock in to form kaleidoscopic melodic patterns. The blues come in through “The Bathroom Mirror,” beautifully structured and played with beguiling warmth. And they don't forget to add a supple beat either.

There are no diminishing returns here (except for that song title) which quite simply means that this is an absorbing album.



 

05/04/2003 Chrissie Murray, Ronnie Scott's Magazine

"Collaboration of reeds players Stan Sulzmann and Chris Biscoe, pianist Liam Noble, bassist Mick Hutton and drummer Paul Clarvis proves that the spirit of free improvisation is not dead, but has been merely sleeping. Noble's stunning charts sit alongside an uplifting version of Lionel Bart's "Who Will Buy?". Inspirational".

 

01/04/2003 Kevin Le Gendre , Jazzwise 4 ****

“Pianist Liam Noble has already impressed through his work with such as Bobby Wellins, Christine Tobin and Paul Clarvis and In the Meantime wholeheartedly confirms that he’s a player to keep an eye on. Surrounded by a bunch of strong if underrated personalities that include Clarvis as well as Stan Sulzmann and Chris Biscoe, Noble has produced one of the best independent releases that I’ve heard of late. An elegant player with an incisive if at times understated style, Noble excels as a writer and arranger on this set. The themes and orchestrations – capitalising wholeheartedly on the fine playing of the ensemble of which Sulzmann and Biscoe stand out – are affecting and occasionally rapturous affairs that strike an all too rare balance between strong, strident forward drive and graceful poise. Harmonic finesse and wily counterpoint are the order of the day but perhaps what impresses the most is the idiomatic range of the material that echoes of anything from Keith Jarrett and early 70’s ECM to Wayne Shorter and very occasionally Thelonious Monk. Yet what we end up with is nevertheless a very British sounding album – something that would sit very well in the Babel catalogue. And the severely reharmonised version of Lionel Bart’s ‘Who Will Buy?’ is a delight, confirming Noble’s ability to take a left turn all the while keeping on the straight and narrow. All told In the Meantime is an articulate, accomplished affair from a musician who is surely more than ready to step out of the shadows.”

 

01/04/2003 Brian Morton Jazz Review

"This is as close as any British composer has come to the vivid unorthodoxy of New York's downtown scene. Heard out of context, you'd think this was a recent outing by someone like Wayne Horvitz. The only giveaway is that Hutton and Clavis refuse to anchor the music in any rythmic certainty as an American section certainly would and take it off to the very edges.

Noble is capable of quirkiness in one measure and jaw-dropping beauty in the very next. He belongs to a long line of English "eccentrics", which could include anyone from Lord Berners to Lol Coxhill, who are not so much improvisers in the conventional sense as instant composers, musicians who fire off ideas according to no obvious structural philosophy but with absolute self-consistency.

It's hard to exaggerate just how good this album is. Tracks like "The Bathroom Mirror" stopped me short in precisely that place, blade dangerously poised, while Noble and the group executed an astonishing harmonic walkabout. "Close Your Eyes" finds them in more conventional jazz mode, as is perhaps appropriate at the end of the record, a blues-tinged structure that is ineffably beautiful and will (if Liam isn't very disciplined) end up on someone's soundtrack one of these days. It doesn't need images, and none of the tracks on In The Meantime needs a programme or an explanation. Check out the superb "Across The Park" and "Waltz" as contrasting examples of what this group can do.

Stan Sulzmann is, as ever, inspirational, but it's Chris Biscoe who catches the ear this time round, not least for his unexpected double on alto clarinet, a warm-toned instrument with an unexpected range and resonance. Joe Lovano is the only other player I've heard recently who gives it the same emotional colouration. This is a vintage British jazz record and the most compelling sign yet that Liam Noble is going to be a composer to watch and listen to very carefully indeed".



 

01/04/2003 John Fordham JazzUK

“Excellent set by a UK pianist who has not only made a mark as a quirky improvioser with Monkish leanings and as a distinctive composer, but who has also enhanced the work of many other local players. Shades of the Django Bates style of thematic writing can be detected here and there in some engagingly jumpy, unjazzlike melodies, and the dense, long-lined, dynamically restrained manner of Greg Osby’s music is also touched on. But a shining light of the whole attractive enterprise is the presence of Stan Sulzmann, who seems to sound more personal and hauntingly moving than ever. Lionel Bart’s ‘Who Will Buy?’, sounding like a Wayne Shorter track, is an unexpected interloper in the repertoire.”


 

01/04/2003 Andrew Vine Yorkshire Post 4****

"Pianist Liam Noble is one of the most distinctive voices in British jazz, a pianist of spiky individuality and a composer whose work consistently surprises.

Both virtues are on display here as Noble leads a quintet through a programme of utterly distinctive music. It's edge of the seat stuff, full of unexpected twists and turns, and yet everything has a sense of rightness and logic that makes it immensely satisfying to listen to.

The star of the session is that wonderful saxophonist Stan Sulzmann, whose work on Waltz and the bluesy Hello Boys is wonderful. Altoist and clarinettist Chris Biscoe isn't far behind on Who Will Buy and The Bathroom Mirror, and the exchanges between the two saxophonists are wonderful.

Noble himself is on top form throughout, and there is good support from bassist Mick Hutton and drummer Paul Clarvis. Liam Noble is quietly establishing himself as a major voice".

 

01/04/2003 Peter Bacon, The Birmingham Post

“Birmingham Conservatoire jazz piano tutor Liam Noble was recently heard to great effect on saxophonist Julian Siegel’s five-star album Close Up. In the leader’s chair he takes a more adventurous path both as composer and in choice of band members, going for the highly-individualistic sounds of saxophonists Stan Sulzmann and Chris Biscoe, bassist Mick Hutton and drummer Paul Clarvis.

His writing sounds are strongly influenced by the modern black American school started by pianists like Andrew Hill and Muhal Richard Abrams and continued by the M-basers Steve Coleman and greg Osby.

Noble’s style is more in the crispy category than in the crunchy area occupied by Matthew Shipp and Jason Moran, but like them he might feel the hand of Thelonious Monk upon his shoulder. But he can wear his heart on his sleeve too.

He does some very clever things with Lionel Bart’s Who Will Buy, setting up a trance-like piano figure for the saxophones to play across, with complementary dry and dusty tones from Sulzmann’s saxophone and Biscoe’s alto clarinet.

The band often straddles the line between form and freedom, but they accomplish it all with aplomb. And Old Masters is just lovely.

Good strong stuff.”



 

07/02/2003 John Fordham, The Guardian 3***

"Noble is one of the younger UK pianists most likely to turn surprising corners. A highly inventive and thoughtful musician, Noble graces any band he joins, while his own music combines characterful composing with fresh, risk-embracing improvisation.... Some wonderful, hooting, almost country-blues music balances the busyness, and Sulzmann - superb on tenor sax throughout - has rarely played better".

 

07/05/2002 John Fordham, The Guardian

"The economy and spiky thoughtfulness of Noble's piano-playing is often close to Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill and occasionally Abdullah Ibrahim in spirit rather than mimicry. But, although Noble's classy quintet kept faith with his intentions, it was the harmonic intrigue of The Bathroom Mirror, the twisting melody and Celtic echoes of Across the Park and the Mike Gibbs-like horn harmonies of a closing almost-blues that made Noble's wry, pungent writing the star". Review of Cheltenham Festival

 

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