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Seesaw

Artist: Christian Brewer

Date of Release: 12/06/2006

Catalogue no: SRCD16-2

Label: Basho

Price: £5.75

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

Thanks but No Thanks (Christian Brewer/Leon Greening)

5.33

2

listen

Singapore (Christian Brewer/Leon Greening)

7.16

3

listen

In a Hurry (Christian Brewer)

7.46

4

 

Duke Ellington's Sound of Love (Mingus)

8.16

5

listen

So You Said (Jim Hart)

7.46

6

listen

Step Backwards (Christian Brewer)

9.14

7

 

Let's Cool One (Thelonious Monk)

6.08

8

listen

Seesaw (Christian Brewer)

11.43

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

Jim Hart

Christian Brewer alto, Jim Hart vibes, Leon Greening piano, Phil Donkin bass, Tristan Mailliot drums

 

Reviews

 

21/07/2006 Jack Massarick, Evening Standard

JAZZ CD OF THE WEEK Christian Brewer Quintet Seesaw 4 ****stars

It was no surprise when veteran Alan Barnes collected his second Best Instrumentalist gong at last week’s predominantly conservative BBC Jazz Awards, but younger and hipper players are lurking in the wings. Altoist Brewer and his precocious colleagues, pianist Leon Greening and vibist Jim Hart, deliver a joyful brand of British neo-bop that swings with power, fluency and confidence.

Bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Tristan Maillot are a cohesive rhythm team and Brewer’s melodic development of six originals and a couple of standards by Mingus and Monk is consistently pleasing.

 

01/07/2006 Pete Martin, Jazz UK, July/ August 20

This excellent British group toured the UK extensively in May and June, and although Seesaw – Brewer’s third CD – was recorded earlier, a feeling of togetherness and interaction amongst the musicians is already evident. Brewer’s alto sound is light – though he can dig in when needed – and he is a remarkably fluent and craftsmanlike improviser. Though fresh ideas flow inexorably, Brewer is not tempted to waste notes despite his fluency, so that there’s a real sense of purpose about his work. In all this he is partnered expertly by pianist Leon Greening (who co-wrote three of the eight tracks) bassist Phil Donkin, Drummer Tristan Maillot, and on vibes Jim Hart, whose presence adds immensely to the colour and vitality of the music.

 

01/07/2006 Duncan Heining, Jazzwise, July 2006

Christian Brewer Quintet SEESAW 3 stars***

Altoist Brewer is one of those players who has learnt from experience where his strengths lie but is still willing to push the envelope. A Phil Woods-like accuracy on fast tracks such as ‘Thanks But No Thanks’ and ‘In A Hurry’ combines with a soul searching Art Pepper quality to his ballad playing on Mingus’ ‘Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love’ and the lovely ‘Singapore’, and the two rhythm sections – Mick Coady features on bass on ‘Sound of Love’ and Monk’s ‘Let’s Cool One’ – serve this music beautifully. Mailliot is totally on the money and Phil Donkin has power and imagination in equal measure. As for Jim Hart, the Vibist is one of those rare finds, a real one to watch. His solos are rich in melody and creativity, while the way he combines with Greening and Brewer is masterly. But the acid test with music like this lies in how the player’s work together, how far the music becomes more than just its parts. This is an excellent band that plays with commitment to one another and that gives these eight tunes elements of surprise and excitement that keep you coming back. This is a fine album that promises much for the future.

 

21/05/2006 Chris Parker, Vortex website

Although justly celebrated as a wholly dependable and versatile sideman, adept at producing funk- and groove-oriented music, not to mention reggae, Christian Brewer is, as this wholly jazz-based album proves, also a superb bandleader, his quintet (pianist Leon Greening, vibes player Jim Hart, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Tristan Mailliot) producing a particularly powerful brand of post-bop. Six of the eight tracks here are in-band originals, the other two being Monk’s ‘Let’s Cool One’ (taken at an easy lope, but retaining much of the original’s spiky eccentricity) and Mingus’s ‘Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love’ (an achingly lovely melody well suited to Brewer’s burnished alto tone). The band’s compositions are attractive, punchy and immediately accessible, ranging from the bustling Brewer/Greening opener ‘Thanks but No Thanks’ to Hart’s dual-paced ‘So You Said’, but whatever tempo they’re operating at, the quintet produce bright, vigorous but skilfully nuanced music, Hart’s vibes in particular combining with the leader’s alternately glowing and driving alto to impart an attractive textural variety to the album’s overall sound. Greening, too, is a sparkling, robust soloist, his lengthy lines imbuing the music with enjoyable tension; the rhythm section is sparky, propulsive yet dynamically controlled throughout. Overall, an assured, consistently entertaining album from one of the UK’s most exciting composer/leaders.

 

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