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PAPERMOON

Artist: George Haslam

Date of Release: 04/09/2008

Catalogue no: SLAMCD 326

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Seven great jazz standards prepared with some very original ideas giving a programme of fresh and very listenable music. Throughout the programme runs a predominantly rhythmic theme – Jazz Calypso, Bossa Nova, Jazz Waltz, Ballad, Swing etc. :
It’s only a Paper Moon, Recado Bossa Nova, The Continental, St James Infirmary, I’ve Never been in Love Before, What’s New?/For all We Know, Out of this World.

THE MUSICIANS
Steve Waterman, trumpet and flugelhorn, playing at his peak – a neverending flow of ideas presented with impeccable tone and style.
Steve Kershaw, double bass, a master of the solid but never obtrusive bass line; always strong on the riffs that feature extensively in this music and totally supportive to the soloists.
Robin Jones, drums, the Latin percussionist who also happens to be a great jazz kit drummer able to get to the rhythmic roots of these arrangements. His relaxed style of working with Kershaw’s bass is beautifully demonstrated on the CD.
George Haslam, baritone saxophone, leader and arranger. Probably more widely known as a free jazz player, Haslam has come up with some most effective arrangements here in his effort to give the quartet character.

 

Reviews

 

04/10/2010 Michael Coyle

By his own account, George Haslam’s career has mainly unfolded left-of-center and his muse has been free. But this record of standards isn’t as much a departure as it might first seem. In fact, I think the album title is perfect. Remember that first verse? “Said it is only a paper moon / Sailing over a cardboard sea, / But it wouldn’t be make-believe / If you believed in me.” If Haslam were merely trying to change his spots this record would stand little chance of persuading anyone. Fortunately that’s not the case. First, because his music has always been eclectic—he’s mixed idioms before, as in the three “Argentine Adventures” albums from the mid-to-late nineties. Second, and more importantly, if this were music he wasn’t feeling, these standards would prove no more than two-dimensional paper moons. Instead, Haslam and his quartet make it clear that they believe. Performances are loose as the boundaries among the various idioms—straight-ahead jazz, bossa nova, two-beat calypso, and even some Free blowing (in the coda to “The Continental”). In other words, as Joe McPhee has been saying for years about his own art: straight ahead, formal jazz is part of Haslam’s music, not all. For this player of creative improvised music, Jazz offers inspiration and points of departure, not limits.
Haslam’s notes describe his concern that his quartet “avoid being another Mulligan Quartet clone.” If you want to hear Jeru’s influence here you can. But Haslam’s tone is gruffer, often grittier, and his solos conceived in different terms that reflect his many years playing “free.” And then, of course, Steve Waterman’s trumpet sounds nothing at all like Baker’s cool. These guys aren’t making big claims about originality, but all the same they deserve to be heard for themselves.
Most of the time I’m a total sucker for baritone sax—I love its irrepressible earthiness—but even so I like the looseness with which this quartet launches into these seven pieces. The arrangements are inventive, and are often allusive in surprising ways. My favorite example is the title track, which largely disrupts the familiar cadence of the Arlen original by fitting it over a calypso beat. Haslam is quite candid here and describes the calypso as “St. Thomas style.” Anyway, the point isn’t that this mash-up is some kind of intellectual breakthrough. It’s not. It’s just great fun—like most of this joyful record.
Michael Coyle, Cadence Oct – Dec 2009. ©Cadence Magazine 2009. www.cadencebuilding.com

 

08/09/2010 Chris Parker

“PAPERMOON” SLAMCD 326
GEORGE HASLAM QUARTET

Baritone saxophonist George Haslam generally operates in the free-jazz arena, this is an album of standards, albeit somewhat eccentrically arranged (‘It’s Only a Paper Moon’, for instance, is set to a jazz calypso rhythm reminiscent of ‘St Thomas’) and played with a pleasingly woozy – sometimes downright abrasive – informality not readily associated with such material. Haslam’s quartet – completed by trumpeter/flugelhorn player Steve Waterman, bassist Steve Kershaw and salsa-specialist Robin Jones having a rare outing on kit drums – addresses the likes of ‘Recado Bossa Nova’, ‘The Continental’ and ‘Out of This World’ with a breezy but musicianly irreverence that immediately commands attention, Haslam’s gruff, attractively bleary horn sound tellingly contrasted with Waterman’s imaginative fire, Jones’s clattery drums blending with Kershaw’s ebullient bass to provide a suitably lively rhythmic underpinning. With the odd ballad (‘What’s New/For All We Know’) throwing the more rumbustious fare into relief, this is a delightfully informal but punchy album, the palpable enjoyment of its practitioners faithfully conveyed to the listener.
'Chris Parker, Vortex website' – www.vortexjazz.co.uk 8 Sept 2008.

 

01/09/2010 Joseph Dorsch

Greetings,
Your new SLAM LP Papermoon is wonderful! I thought my neck was going to snap from all the head bobbing! I loved every second of every bar. I wish you all the best!

Peace be with you,

Joseph Dorsch

 

02/08/2010 George Kanzler

Although Papermoon shares the Gerry Mulligan Quartet format, it doesn't share its sound except for some horn polyphony and tandem soloing. Where the Mulligan sound was cool, even suave, Haslam's is harder, more emphatic. The baritone and Steve Waterman's trumpet are more metallic, Haslam's sound bronze corduroy, the trumpet music hall brash. And Robin Jones stresses big, ringing ride and crash cymbals (contrast them to the delicate cymbals from DiBlasio's drummer Joe Mullen). Haslam revels in jaunty rhythms like the calypso-inflected one on the title track or the chugging ostinato of "The Continental". A creative take on a classic format. By George Kanzler http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=30774

 

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