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No Looking Back

Artist: Paul Booth

Date of Release: 24/09/2007

Catalogue no: SRCD 20-2

Label: Basho

Price: £5

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

No Looking Back (Paul Booth)

9.23

2

 

Andorra (Paul Booth)

7.11

3

 

Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)

7.15

4

 

Penguin Dance (Paul Booth)

6.29

5

 

Come Sunday (Duke Ellington)

2.37

6

 

Better Git It In Your Soul (Charles Mingus)

5.40

7

 

Interlude (Paul Booth)

2.07

8

 

Cross Channel (Paul Booth)

8.08

9

 

Such Is Life... (Paul Booth)

6.19

10

 

A Time For Change (Paul Booth)

8.11

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

Dave Smith, Mike Gorman, Stuart McCallum

Paul Booth (saxes, alto flute, bass clarinet, melodica, piano), Stuart McCallum (guitars, Mike Gorman (piano), Phil Donkin (bass), Dave Smith (drums)

2007 is an exciting year for Paul Booth. This year the Paul Booth Quintet are on tour with their new album, and Paul is also touring with rock legend Steve Winwood, Arnie Somogyi’s Ambulance, Tim Garland’s Northern Underground Orchestra and Derek Nash's Sax Appeal. Paul’s second album No Looking Back showcases Paul’s modern melodic sensibilities with intricate rhythms across a number of original compositions. The solid rhythm section underpins some frantic improvisation and there is a real sense of interplay.

 

Reviews

 

10/01/2008 John Barron

As a sideman, British saxophonist Paul Booth has quite an impressive résumé. Since graduating with honors from London’s Royal Academy of Music, the in-demand Booth has performed with the likes of Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton and the touring company of Riverdance. On No Looking Back, Booth takes on a lead role with strength and conviction, as a first-rate soloist and inventive composer.
Booth’s tenor saxophone dances gracefully around the frenetically paced title track. The tune’s jagged rhythmic structure—moving back and forth from odd-metered funk to swing—creates an enticing foundation where improvised ideas easily flourish. Booth’s sound is forceful and focused, reminiscent of Michael Brecker’s inspired edginess. Like Brecker, Booth has overwhelming technical facility. He is able to manipulate the entire range of his horn, mixing lyrical, sometimes angular phrasing with rapid-fire runs. His solos on the pseudo-samba “Andorra,” the funky “Penguin Dance” and the Duke Ellington ballad “Come Sunday”—performed unaccompanied—stand out as exceptionally vibrant.

The disc’s other main soloist is guitarist Stuart McCallum, who tears through Charles Mingus’ “Better Git It in Your Soul” and Booth’s swinging “Cross Channel.” The clean-toned guitarist has a playful approach, at once soulful and experimental. Pianist Mike Gorman plays a mainly unselfish role as sympathetic accompanist and interpreter of Booth’s music. When Gorman is given the opportunity to shine, however, he proves to be a dynamic improviser. His solo on “Cross Channel” is a blistering, chops-heavy romp. Bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Dave Smith add solid, steadfast support.

As an instrumentalist and composer, Booth has a wide-ranging scope. The music on No Looking Back is well-conceived, astonishingly contemporary and, as the title suggests, forward-looking.

 

13/10/2007 Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph

Paul Booth is still only 30 but he has long enjoyed a reputation as a sax player of mingled shapeliness and intensity, the tone never forced even when he's blowing up a storm – as he does more than once on this new CD.

It also shows him to be an interesting composer with a quirky rhythmic sense. The title track flits back and forth between a three- and four-beat pulse in Philip-Glass-like fashion, while A Time for Change is in a louche seven-in-a-bar.

Among the new pieces and the odd standard (Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now is lovingly reinterpreted) there are new pieces where Booth strikes a graceful, quasi-Renaissance modal tone. Add to all this an excellent supporting quartet, and the result is a delight.

 

01/10/2007 Martin Longley, Jazz Review

Emerging from mysterious Ramsgate, Booth may well have been experienced by many, either onstage or on disc, but they might not remember having witnessed him, so vast is the roster of horn sections he's graced. Actually, I've just realised that I saw Booth as part of Roberto Pla's orchestra at Brecon, only last month. This sinewy tenor-blower is only now beginning to refine a personal
signature as leader. His second solo disc feels like it's going to enjoy a much greater presence than the 2004 debut, It's Happening, on Jazzizit. The music herein will certainly establish Booth's shining new position, as both composer and soloist. The Basho label is also increasing its momentum on the UK scene, becoming a prolific home to quality recordings, an ever-more important platform for both new and established talent. Performance and production are rippling with assurance and power. Booth is now ready to present himself as a bandleader, confidently soloing with a steelytoned tension. He also shades out section-work with his own alto flute and bass clarinet, being very aware of texture and touch. The two minute “Interlude" is a capsule example of Booth's potential for soundtrack work, a childlike fairground dismantling that also features his piano and melodica overdubs. As he's so often found in an extra-jazz musical context, some of these outside sessioneering influences must be healthy, sometimes filling Booth's compositions with an alien energy. That is, aside from his choice of Joni Mitchell's “Both Sides Now" as one of the album's three cover versions. On this scribe's subjective level, it's a particularly quease-making tune. But Paul soon redeems himself by playing Duke's “Come Sunday" as a completely solo display, leading into the Mingus freak-out of “Better Git It In Your Soul". Such a contrast, interleaving gospel's two sides: spiritual contemplation's invaded by fast handclaps, then the band levers in at speed... Guitarist Stuart McCallum is here for a purpose, and that's to spread blues and soul grit across his appearances on six of the cuts. The rest of the band are emphatically jazzy, but McCallum's solos and chordings nudge Booth's compositions sideways, just far enough to impart an enjoyably split personality.

 

23/09/2007 Vortex Website

The tag 'one of the hottest young players around' is probably overused in some circles, but where saxophonist Paul Booth is concerned, it's simply a factual description; his is a rich, almost fruity sound, but none the less capable of swaggering excitement, and on both his own material on this, his second album as leader, and on pieces by Duke Ellington (a solo 'Come Sunday') and Charles Mingus (the wonderfully rumbustious, helter-skelter 'Better Get It in Your Soul'), he is simply riveting, eloquent and powerful.

Guitarist Stuart McCallum is a fine foil, particularly in his utilisation of a wide range of sounds in his accompanying role, and the rhythm section ­ muscular but sensitive pianist Mike Gorman, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Dave Smith ­ is robust enough to keep the band on its toes for the album's entire 62 minutes.

Booth's compositions are intelligently varied without undue fussiness, but his visit to Joni Mitchell's precociously philosophical 'Both Sides Now' (her equivalent of Billy Strayhorn's 'Lush Life') is possibly the album's highlight, tender, thoughtful and respectful without being over-sentimental.

A thoroughly unpretentious but musicianly album ­ recommended.

 

21/09/2007 The Scotsman, Kenny Mathieson

SAXOPHONIST Paul Booth isn't exactly a newcomer, as a glance at his CV will confirm, but his second album confirms he has developed into a mature and creative leader. That CV includes work with Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton alongside more overtly jazz engagements, and it is his jazz side that is showcased on this recording with his own strong quintet. Tenor sax is his main instrument, and he plays it with a genuine lyricism, but he is also featured on soprano sax, alto flute, bass clarinet, melodica and piano in the course of the set. The ten tracks include a lovely reading of Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now, Ellington's elegant Come Sunday and an energised tribute to Mingus in Better Git it in Your Soul. The remainder are his own, and show him to be a capable writer.

 

21/09/2007 Evening Standard, Jack Massarik CD of the Week

Like many young pros, Paul Booth leads a double life. Derek Nash's Sax Appeal and Tim Garland's Northern Underground Orchestra know him as one of our most fluent and stylish tenormen, but musicians have mortgages too, and touring with rockers (Steve Winwood), showbands (Riverdance) and living in Margate all keep his overheads down. It also keeps him under the jazz radar, but screens should light up when this album appears on Monday. He solos with great authority on seven substantial originals and three jazz standards, including Mingus's Better Git it in Your Soul and a fine unaccompanied version of Ellington's Come Sunday. Among his quintet is Mancunian guitarist Stuart McCallum, another nascent talent worthy of closer attention.

 

10/09/2007 Birmingam Post, Peter Bacon, 3 stars***

Paul Booth is a very strong new voice on the tenor saxophone. Fluent and seemingly effortless in his improvisations, and rich and warm of tone, he is a pleasure to listen to.

 

10/09/2007 Ian Mann

Paul Booth 'No Looking Back'

You have to hand it to Christine Allen and Basho Records. They keep unearthing fresh, young British jazz musicians and encourage their talents by giving them the opportunity to record. Following the talented pianist Tim Lapthorn we now have the prodigiously gifted saxophonist Paul Booth.
Booth has worked with many big names in both the pop and jazz fields (most notably Steve Winwood) and this album is major statement of his jazz credentials. Booth is featured mainly on tenor saxophone but also on a number of other instruments. The versatile Mike Gorman (last heard as an organist in Jim Mullen’s trio) is at the piano with Phil Donkin on bass and Loop Collective member Dave Smith on drums. Mancunian guitarist Stuart McCallum, himself something of a rising star, adds his distinctive sound to six of the album’s ten tracks. It all makes for an exciting and highly talented young line up.
The lengthy title track opens the album and finds Booth overdubbing himself on alto flute and bass clarinet alongside his trusty tenor. It’s a rich mix with Booth’s assured tenor floating effortlessly over the complex rhythms. McCallum’s jagged guitar provides part of the rhythm track and he also features in a melodic context with a sparkling solo. Gorman too, announces himself with an inventive solo and proves that he is also a fine pianist.
Booth’s “Andorra” is more pastoral and lyrical with an innate tunefulness redolent of Pat Metheny. There is more fine soloing from Gorman and Booth plus a highly melodic contribution from Donkin at the bass. No matter how far the soloists probe, the relaxed and sunny vibe and essential melodiousness of the piece always shines through.
Metheny is a former associate of Joni Mitchell and Booth breathes fresh life into her composition “Both Sides Now”. Executed as a brooding ballad the leader’s pure toned tenor and Gorman’s lyrical piano are sympathetically supported by Smith and Donkin. The whole is atmospheric and effective.
The energetic post bop of“Penguin Dance” lifts the tempo. Rhythmically complex, the piece is driven along by the remarkable drumming of Smith. Solos come from the ever-inventive McCallum followed by Booth’s powerful but fluent tenor. Gorman’s piano vamping frames a series of drum breaks from the agile and energetic Smith. Exhilarating stuff.
Changes of mood and tempo are a characteristic of this well programmed album. Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” is delivered by the assured Booth as an unaccompanied tenor solo, an understated demonstration of his mastery of the instrument.
Handclaps form a segue into a joyous version of the Charles Mingus classic “Better Git It in Your Soul”. Gorman delivers a rollicking piano solo and it is appropriate that the consistently excellent Donkin is also featured.
The gently shimmering “Interlude” features Booth overdubbing on alto flute, bass clarinet, piano and even melodica. This charming vignette paves the way for the lengthy “Cross Channel”, an elegant composition framing brilliant solos from MacCallum, Booth and Gorman.
“Such Is Life” is a reflective feature for Booth on soprano introduced by Gorman on solo piano and also containing a bass solo of rare sensitivity from Donkin. Booth’s feathery tone has something of an oboe like quality about it.
The slow burning “A Time For Change” closes the album with memorable solos from Gorman and Booth. Tinged with the blues, an indefinable air of foreboding underlies the piece.
This is in fact Booth’s second album as a leader. His first, “It’s Happening” was released on Trudi Kerr’s Jazzizit label in 2004 to glowing reviews. I’ve not heard this as yet but if it reaches the same high levels as his latest offering it should be well worth investigating.
“No Looking Back” is remarkably mature statement from a highly talented saxophonist and composer. Booth makes the sophisticated sound effortless, and with sparkling support from a highly talented band this latest album should put him firmly on the jazz map. Excellent.
“No Looking Back” is due for release on 10th September 2007 on Basho Records.
See www.paulboothsax.com for a full discography and details of live performances.
Review by Ian Mann.
(BASHO RECORDS SRCD20-2

 

16/08/2007 Peter Bevan (Northern Echo)

Paul Booth/No looking back (Basho Music SRCD20-2) Just a couple of backward glances with Come Sunday which segues neatly into Better Get It In Your Soul, otherwise this is forward looking stuff written by Paul and featuring him mostly on saxes with Stuart McCallum guitar, Mike Gorman piano, Phil Donkin bass and Dave Smith drums. Paul was impressive recently with Arnie Somogyi's Ambulance in Gateshead and it's good to hear his new band is up to the same standard.

 

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