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The Astronomer's Guest

Artist: Sarah Bennett

Date of Release: 01/08/2006

Catalogue no: 1013

Label: Own

Price: £9.99

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

The Girl in the Moon

6.17

2

listen

The Beckoning Fair One

4.35

3

 

The Celestial Toymaker

3.58

4

listen

The Astronomer's Guest

6.18

5

 

Nightscape

6.51

6

 

Nocturne's Kite

3.10

7

 

Song for an Astronaut's Wife

4.32

8

listen

Comet

7.45

 

 

 

 

The band's latest CD comprises all original pieces by band pianist and leader, Chris Bennett. These all have an astronomical or “other worldly” theme, where the voice is also used as an instrumental accompaniment to produce a series of mood-creating pieces.

For audio samples visit: www.sarahbennettjazz.com

 

Reviews

 

01/12/2006 Jazzwise - Dec 06/Jan 07

THE ASTRONOMER’S GUEST ***

To say that this is one of the more unusual offerings to come my way this year would be a gross understatement. Comprising eight original pieces by pianist Chris Bennett, The Astronomer’s Guest isn’t so much leftfield as outer-spacious. Drawing from a voluminous stylistic well, with influences ranging from folk, pop and classical music as well as jazz, the music could perhaps best be described as an unlikely mash-up of contemporary British influences; the hallucinatory lyrical content of early Pink Floyd meets the trenchant individuality of Kate Bush, filtered through the musical sensibilities of Norma Winstone. It’s deeply quirky and, at times, wonderful. The album’s astronomical theme is announced at the outset as “The Girl in the Moon” drifts into your consciousness on a static synth bed. “The Celestial Toymaker” mines its very own version of English minimalism, while “Nightscape” features a wordless vocal floating ethereally over a chorale-like backdrop, conveying something of the longing and melancholia of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. The funky Latin stylings of “Nocturne’s Kite” provide a welcome foil to the otherwise glacial pace. Based on a repeating two-chord motif that rocks back and forth hypnotically, “Comet” provides the suitably other-wordly conclusion and hints at a quite different source of inspiration – classical Indian vocal music. You almost expect singer Shoba Gurtu to pitch in for a verse or two – now that would have been a coup de grace.

Peter Quinn

 

15/09/2006 Norma Winstone

I think that it's very imaginative work. I think that you do extremely well with some of the difficult melodic lines (e.g. Nocturne's Kite). In fact that might be the only downside for me, as I find it difficult to remember many of the melodies. It's just an observation as I love strong melodies, even though I have of course sung quite "angular" things myself in the past, and have always loved a challenge, as you obviously do! I really like the way you handle the wordless songs.... very nice sound. Anyway congratulations to you both; it's good to hear that someone is trying to do something a bit different with words and music.
I find your work both interesting and imaginative, and I like the way you integrate your voice into the music.

All the best,
Norma

 

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