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More than Four: Live at the Lighthouse

Artist: Just East

Date of Release: 19/09/2005

Catalogue no: JEOJCD4

Label: Just East of Jazz

Price: £6

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

Eastbound

10.05

2

 

Breathaliser

5.20

3

 

Frania

6.45

4

 

Lada to Elfin waltz

8.11

5

 

Requiem á Tanier

6.19

6

 

Mud pie

7.14

7

 

Ishta taïst

8.40

8

 

Blue mountain pyre

12.07

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

, Gilad Atzmon, Gilad Atzmon

Just East of Jazz More than four: live at the Lighthouse line-up: Jeremy Shoham: saxes, Neil Angilley: piano, Phil Scragg: bass, Rick Finlay: drums/perc, plus special guest Gilad Atzmon on four tracks

 

Reviews

 

01/02/2006 Julian Maynard-Smith: The Jazz Rag

Labels are problematic; let’s stick with ‘klezmer-world-jazz quartet’ for now. On this live set, composer-leader Jeremy Shoham is joined on reeds by another player whose musical tastes look eastwards: Gilad Atzmon, of Orient House Ensemble. Their soprano saxophones double to great effect on ‘Breathaliser’ – a title that hints at the deep lungs needed for the tune’s rhythmically demanding and lengthy phrases. The catchy riffing from the rhythm section (also evident on ‘Mud Pie’) draws enthusiastic whoops from the audience. ‘Lada to Elfin Waltz’ is another ‘lung-challenger’ – and although it’s called a waltz, the 3/4 time is heavily disguised, the piano and drums swirling and eddying around the bass. Appropriately, it’s in this rhythmically challenging piece that the drum solo occurs.
The opener ‘Eastbound’ is more like a round trip, veering westwards from klezmer-influenced soprano sax towards jazz-funk and Tyner-esque piano, before returning back east. The pretty ‘Frania’ has hints of ‘Yesterday’, but otherwise is a jazz ballad sketched with subtle bass lines from Phil Scragg, delicate drum brushwork from Rick Finlay, long liquid piano lines from Neil Angilley, and interweaving saxophone and clarinet from Shoham and Altman. ‘Requiem à Tanier’, another quieter piece, showcases Angilley’s piano. The bass and drums join unobtrusively like latecomers to the ceremony, then melt away to leave just piano that swells from autumnal melancholy to bold runs, then back to Debussy-like introspection.
The bluesy ‘Ishta taïst’ has hints of Brecker, although the theme is played on alto. The closer ‘Blue mountain pyre’ has a bluesy midsection, but opens with a strong klezmer feel on soprano and tenor. High-register playing and distortion make Phil Scragg’s bass solo sound guitar-like, before the band goes into a heavy blues vamp, overlaid with a terrific bop solo on alto, with echoes of Sonny Stitt.
A lovely album.

 

01/01/2006 Pete Martin: JazzUK

[With] the participation of the wonderful saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, and embracing a range of musical traditions in their work...Just East of Jazz are now on their fourth CD, and their absorbing blend of middle-eastern sounds and jazz improvisation is captured brilliantly in this live recording, from a concert at the Lighthouse in Poole during May 2004. The regular group are joined by Atzmon on four tracks, including the gentle ‘Frania’ and the rousing ‘Blue Mountain Pyre’.

 

01/12/2005 Kenny Mathieson: Jazzwise

Just East of Jazz are not the only band currently working at the interface between jazz and the music of the Balkans and the Jewish klezmer tradition, but with well over a decade of commitment to that particular musical fusion behind them, they have been able to delve deeply into it. More than Four (a deliberate echo of Miles’ Four and More) was recorded at the Lighthouse in Poole rather than it's more famous California predecessor, and features the band’s current thoughts on material going back as far as their debut studio album in 1996 (two more have followed, and a fourth is planned for next year). Jeremy Shoham’s agile and resourceful playing on both alto and soprano saxophones is supplemented by the muscular addition of typically energised and passionate contributions from guest Gilad Atzmon on four tracks. The swooping melodies and complex rhythms of the music are constantly absorbing, and their imaginative soloing and well-honed ensemble understanding is always evident.

 

01/12/2005 Mike Gavin: Jazz at Ronnie Scott's

Saxist Jeremy Shoham’s excellent band have for some years been exploring the odd places where jazz, klezmer and the music of the Balkans intersect.
For their latest, and first live, outing (no that’s not the Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach – this one’s in Poole…) the band becomes a quartet and adds pianist Neil Angilley (who gets to strut his melodic stuff on the piano trio ‘Requiem à Tanier’) to long-term rhythm section Phil Scragg (bass) and Rick Finlay (drums). In doing so they’ve tightened up their sound considerably, digging deeper on the jazz side, exploring the odd eastern cadences that remain at the root of their music with greater intensity.
The presence of Gilad Atzmon on four tracks to some extent helps define this new direction but the band are more than capable of whipping up a head of steam on their own – as ‘Eastbound’, the first number, amply proves. The clever arrangements at times bring to mind Shorty Rogers’s excellent and unheralded exploration of his Jewish roots, ‘My Son the Jazz Drummer’, and at other times there’s a hint the band are indeed looking further eastward with a strong Middle Eastern feel.
An excellent record by a young English band going places.

 

01/10/2005 John Bungey: The Times

Of all the musical fusions glued together under the banner of world music, the mix of American jazz with klezmer and Arab music is one of the most potent. The British foursome Just East of Jazz have been crossing continents since 1993, and the opener on this live recording, Eastbound, sets the template. A slowly accelerating Eastern dance led by Jeremy Shoham’s pirouetting alto sax suddenly switches to a bubbling funk groove. After some energetic soloing we head back to the Orient as the dance returns to reach a giddy climax. Also on hand is Gilad Atzmon, whose take-no- prisoners sax playing adds an edge not always found on the group’s studio CDs.

 

19/09/2005 John Fordham: The Guardian

“Until saxophonist Gilad Atzmon made a mark with an east-west world-jazz outfit called Orient House Ensemble, the leading local contender in that field was Just East of Jazz, an eclectic outfit led by saxophonist Jeremy Shoham that brought together jazz, klezmer and Balkan music. On this live set in Dorset last year, you get the two for the price of one: Atzmon's fierce saxophone sound makes guest appearances on four tracks, and his fearless imagination puts a fire under the improvisation...

...Some of the material will be familiar to Just East of Jazz followers, such as the shapely and reflective Requiem a Tanier (a feature for the group's fine pianist Neil Angilley) and the stomping Blue Mountain Pyre, with its Keystone Cops jauntiness turning into a bleary blues feel. Just East have always been fond of jump-cut rhythmic changes... the authority and energy of the group has been growing over the years, and they have long been a vivacious proposition live. This set catches that full-on momentum and their bagful of engaging folk-jazz themes pretty well.”

 

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