Artist: George Haslam
Date of Release: 23/09/2013
Catalogue no: SLAMCD 329
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A collection of ballads by George Haslam baritone sax, with guests Steve Waterman trumpet and flugelhorn, Ruben Ferrero piano, Esmond Selwyn guitar, Dan Messore guitar and Steve Kershaw double bass. Thirteen solo and duo tracks.
A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON George Haslam & Ruben Ferrero
BLUE BOSSA George Haslam & Ruben Ferrero
IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD Esmond Selwyn
I WON’T SEND ROSES George Haslam & Steve Kershaw
NAIMA Steve Waterman & Dan Messore
EL DIA QUE ME QIERAS George Haslam
HOW INSENSITIVE George Haslam & Steve Kershaw
WHERE OR WHEN George Haslam & Steve Waterman
BODY AND SOUL Esmond Selwyn
I MAY BE WRONG George Haslam & Ruben Ferrero
I LOVES YOU PORGY Steve Waterman & Dan Messore
IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD George Haslam & Steve Waterman
STARDUST George Haslam & Ruben Ferrero
20/06/2014 Nick Lea
This is an absolute gem of a record from saxophonist, Haslam who for my money is still greatly underappreciated. Perhaps known for his work (and recordings on his own SLAM imprint) in the freer areas of the music, his love and commitment to more structured settings is never far away. Indeed, it can be said that he always retains one foot firmly in the jazz tradition acting as intermediary and link between past and present.
The album was conceived as a series of duets and solos with friends as opposed to the ‘guests’ as credited on the CD cover, and Haslam says in the liner notes that “This collection came about simply from a love of these songs and a desire to play them…”. Selflessly, Haslam gives over four of the thirteen tracks over to others. Two delightful solo features for guitarist Esmond Selwyn and two duets for Steve Waterman with the other guitarist on the disc, Dan Messore. As fine as these tracks are, it is the tracks that feature George’s gruff yet tenderly spoken baritone that stand out.
In an unlikely partnership with Steve Waterman on the Richard Rodger’s tune ‘Where Or When’ the two musician’s state the melody and support each other in such an exemplary manner that a chordal or rhythm instrument is not missed in the slightest, and the pair repeat the trick on a stellar reading of Duke’s ‘In A Sentimental Mood'. The two duets with bassist Steve Kershaw are so very different with Steve’s arco playing producing a gloriously sonorous sound with the baritone sax on ‘I Won’t Send Roses’, and his hypnotic rhythmic line (this time plucking the strings) on ‘How Sensitive’.
Pianist, Ruben Ferreo gets four duets with Haslam, and if the saxophone/piano is a little more familiar in this context it is none the worse for that, with Ferrero proving to be the perfect accompanist playing enough to lift the music and make his presence felt, but leaving sufficient space for the baritone to make the most of these beautiful melodies.
A wonderful set that is a must for anyone interested in the art of the duet, and the ballad.
Reviewed by Nick Lea Jazz Views Nov 2013
31/05/2014 Michael Steinman
There is nothing that saxophonist George Haslam,
who celebrates the 25th anniversary of his SLAM
imprint this year, can’t play and the ballad treatments
of Words Unspoken find him conjuring shades of Carney
and Mulligan, as well as referencing Ben Webster’s
vibrato and post-tone breathing while, of course,
filtering all through his own approach. This disc of
duets and solos does not so much deconstruct the
ballad as present it in three dimensions, elucidating it
from multiple instrumental angles. Contrast the two
versions of “In a Sentimental Mood”: in guitarist
Esmond Selwyn’s intimate rendition, harmony is king,
even in the way he reemphasizes and transforms the
melody’s harmonic implications each time it is stated;
when Haslam and trumpeter Steve Waterman lay
down their version of the same tune, it becomes a
study in harmonic implication and resolution through
counterpoint. This sinewy and often elusive approach
becomes especially interesting when each player solos
as harmonic control is bandied about in a friendly
game of tag. A somewhat similar path is taken when
Haslam and bassist Steve Kershaw slide effortlessly
through “I Won’t Send Roses”, but no such harmonic
ambiguities cloud the horizon during “A Kiss to Build
a Dream On” and “Blue Bossa”, both courtesy of
Haslam and pianist Ruben Ferrero. Haslam’s penchant
for rhythmic freedom opens the tune, more blue than
bossa, and the way the duo elongates bossa rhythm
upon Ferrero’s lush entrance is both natural and
Michael Steinman The New York City Jazz Record
25/04/2014 Rotcod Zzaj
George Haslam – WORDS UNSPOKEN: Some splendid ballad work from George’s baritone sax, with guests Steve Waterman on trumpet/flugelhorn, Ruben Ferrero on piano, Esmond Selwyn on guitar, Dan Messore guitar and Steve Kershaw doing double bass. A beautiful slow-start on the opener, “A Kiss To Build A Dream On” is very satisfying indeed. The double bass intro on “I Won’t Send Roses” will be played over & over on your playlists… a definite laid-back groove. It was the 7:56 rendition of “Naima” that got my vote for favorite of the thirteen tunes offered up for your ongoing aural adventure, though… sweet is the best word I can think of to describe this! I give George & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98 for this one. Get more information at the SLAM PRODUCTIONS website for this CD. Rotcod Zzaj
02/04/2014 Robert Iannapollo
Baritone saxophonist George Haslam has been
a veteran of the British jazz scene, having been
playing since the 1960s. What's impressive about
Haslam is his versatility. He's been associated with
the British avant-garde and recorded extensively
with players such as Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill and Paul
Rutherford. But he's just as comfortable playing a set
of well-worn standards, blowing new life into them.
Words Unspoken is the most recent collection
from his SLAM label. (The label, formed in 1989,
has released over 100 albums that feature not only
Haslam but an international array of improvisers.)
Over the course of six months (10/2012 - 3/2013)
Haslam recorded a set of ballads with a variety
of musicians in a variety of locations. It is an
album of mostly duos, with a few solos thrown in.
Haslam doesn't play on all of it, which was initially
disappointing. But those on which he doesn't play are
Haslam has a commanding presence on the baritone.
His sound is big and burry but with a warmth that
serves as a nice counterbalance. When interpreting
standards such as these. one gets the impression these melodies mean something
to him. For all the gruffness in his playing, there's a genuine tenderness to what
he does, especially on the opener, "A Kiss To Build A Dream On". Initially, it was a
bit disappointing that Haslam doesn't play on "Naima". But the version with Steve
Waterman on flugelhorn and Dan Messore on guitar is as sensitive an interpretation
I've heard. Waterman's hovering flugelhorn is cushioned by Messore's pure guitar to
One would think that with an ever-shifting personnel and variance in recording
locations (from Argentina to the U.K.: Haslam's solo piece, Gardel's "El Dia Que Me
Quieras" was recorded in his home) that this album would be all over the place. But
Haslam has put together a coherent album that's highly listenable. With its ballad
theme, it almost comes off as a suite. And it's an album well-worth savoring.
Robert Iannapollo CadenCe Magazine | April May June 2014
01/11/2013 Vittorio Lo Conte
Il sassofonista baritono George Haslam è un musicista e produttore speciale, che non fa mistero di avere una predilezione per l´avanguardia, ma non dimentica quelli che sono i grandi standards, quelle canzoni conosciute da tutti e su cui i jazzisti amano improvvisare adeguandosi alla struttura di accordi. È così che fra un disco e l´altro produce qualcosa che è anche per quei palati sopraffini che cercano appunto la bellezza dell´esecuzione ed il grande standard. I brani che ci presenta sono registrati in giro per il mondo, in solo o in duo, per lo più c´è Haslam, ma ci sono dei brani in duo del trombettista Steve Waterman insieme al chitarrista Dan Messore, le imperdibili Naima e I Loves You Porgy, oppure In a Sentimental Mood eBody and Soul eseguite dalla chitarra solitaria diEsmond Selwyn. Altrove è George Haslam all´opera, in duo insieme al pianista argentino Ruben Ferrero, al chitarrista Dan Messore, al contrabbassista Steve Kershaw ed al trombettista Steve Waterman. Che sia un disco speciale lo si capisce fin dall´inizio, poi la musica prende il sopravvento e la bellezza dei brani e delle esecuzioni lascia senza parole. Qualcosa come Naima è una gemma da antologia, ma è certo che il resto e l´intero disco non passano inosservati all´ascolto.
Vittorio Lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=16040
The baritone saxophonist George Haslam is a special musician and producer, who makes no secret of having a taste for the avant-garde, but do not forget that those are the big standards, those songs known to all and on which jazz musicians improvise like adapting to the structure of agreements. It is thus that between a disc and the other produces something that is also for those palates who seek precisely the beauty of execution and the general standard. The songs here recorded show us around the world, alone or in duo, mostly Haslam there, but there are some songs in a duo of trumpeter Steve Waterman with guitarist Dan Messore , the must-see Naima and I Loves You Porgy, or In a Sentimental Mood and Body and Soul performed by the solo guitar of Esmond Selwyn .Elsewhere George Haslam at work, in a duo with Argentine pianist Ruben Ferrero, bass player Steve Kershaw and trumpeter Steve Waterman. That it's a special disc you can tell from the beginning, then the music takes over and the beauty of the songs and performances leaves you speechless. Something like Naima is a gem of an anthology, but it is certain that the rest do not go unnoticed and the entire disc must be listened to.
01/10/2013 Alberto Bazzurro
Anche un musicista piuttosto "duro e puro" come George Haslam non ha saputo resistere alla seduzione dei grandi standard, e ha così confezionato questo album (in cui suona solo il baritono), optando per organici assolutamente minimi: tre monologhi (uno suo e due del chitarrista Esmond Selwyn, non presente in nessun'altra traccia) e dieci duetti.
Le penne scomodate sono fra le più illustri e visitate (inutile dettagliarle: basta scorrere la tracklist), anche se non sempre le riletture di Haslam e soci riescono a dire qualcosa di nuovo (anche minimo, ovviamente). Le cose migliori sembrano arrivare dalla sezione centrale del CD, quella che va da "I Won't Send Roses," duo baritono/contrabbasso (pizzicato e con l'archetto) concentrato e rilassato, a "Where or When," in cui l'abbinamento fra Haslam e la tromba di Steve Waterman riecheggia qualcosa del magico binomio Mulligan/Chet. Sempre con Waterman al centro delle operazioni, una delle vette del CD è senz'altro "Naima," in una rilettura tutt'altro che ovvia, così come (in entrambi i casi accanto alla chitarra di Dan Messore) "I Loves You Porgy," in cui la tromba sordinata raschia fondali di puro lirismo.
Sempre rimanendo ai vertici del disco, "El Dia Que Me Qieras" e "Insensatez" azzardano infine una gustosa staffetta Gardel/Jobim, con Haslam prima solo e poi affiancato ancora dal contrabbasso di Steve Kershaw. Altrove si respira come detto un'aria un po' più supina, pur senza scadere mai nella pura routine.
Also a musician rather " pure and hard " as George Haslam was unable to resist the seduction of the great standard, and so has packaged this album ( in which he plays only the baritone ), opting for organic absolute minimum , three monologues (one his and two by guitarist Esmond Selwyn , not present in any other track) and ten duets .
The compositions are among the most famous and visited (needless to detail them : just scroll down the tracklist), although not always re-readings, Haslam and members are able to say something new (even minor, of course). The best things seem to come from the middle section of the CD, the one that goes from " I Won’t Send Roses" duo baritone / bass ( pizzicato and with the bow) focused and relaxed, "Where or When " in which the coupling between Haslam and the trumpet of Steve Waterman echoes something of the magical duo Mulligan /Chet . Always with Waterman at the center of operations, one of the peaks of the CD is definitely "Naima " a reinterpretation far from obvious , as well as ( in both cases with guitar Dan Messore ) " I Loves You Porgy , " in which the muted trumpet scraping depths of pure lyricism.
Always stay on top of the disc, " El Dia Que Me Qieras " and " Insensatez " dare finally a tasty relay Gardel /Jobim, with Haslam first alone and then joined again by the bass of Steve Kershaw . Elsewhere air you breathe as I said a little more supine , without ever expire in the pure routine.
Alberto Bazzurro http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=9441
16/09/2013 Bruce Lee Gallanter
GEORGE HASLAM With STEVE WATERMAN/RUBEN
FERRERO/ESMOND SELWYN/DAN MESORE/STEVE KERSHAW -
Words Unspoken: Duets (Slam 329; UK) Personnel:
George Haslam on bari sax, Steve Waterman on
trumpet & flugel, Esmond Selwyn & Dan Messore on
guitars, Ruben Ferrero on piano and Steve Kershaw
on acoustic bass. Baritone sax and Slam label
head, George Haslam, keeps busy playing in a
variety of bands both in England as well as in
South America where he visits and records on
occasion. Haslam has recorded free music with Lol
Coxhill, Borah Bergman and Paul Rutherford. He
has also recorded more Straight jazz with Mal
Waldron and some of those lesser known South
American musicians. All of the thirteen songs
here are relatively well-known standards. Mr.
Haslam has a warm lovely tone on bari saxi plays
these songs with elegance and grace. Guitarist
Esmond Selwyn, trumpeter Steve Waterman and
pianist Ruben Ferrero are also gifted jazz
musicians who also play these old school gems
superbly. Although I listen to so little straight
jazz nowadays, I did find these performances to
be most charming and inventive on a more
restrained level. Highlights include "I Won't
Send Roses", "How Insensitive" and "I Love You
Porgy". - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
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