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Follow That

Artist: Esmond Selwyn

Date of Release: 11/11/2013

Catalogue no: 2206

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.99

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Originally released on SLAM in 2000, ‘Follow That’ was Esmond Selwyn’s first recording as a leader. “A superb technician with flowing ideas and a driving energy, he propels his quartet through both standards and original compositions with great finesse.” wrote Howard Paul in Just Jazz Guitars.
The original pressing sold out some years ago; the ensuing demand has resulted in this re-issue of a great album. With Paul Sawtell piano, Bill Coleman bass and Robin Jones drums the quartet presents a programme of 5 standards – ‘Prelude to a Kiss’, ‘Serenata’, ‘Have You Met Miss Jones?’, ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’ and ‘Just One of Those Things’ alongside 4 original themes by Selwyn and Sawtell.

 

Reviews

 

02/12/2013 JGSWA

Our member Esmond Selwyn recently sent me the two albums above. The first one, a new release “Words Unspoken” features Esmond as a guest on two tracks, both solo guitar. “In a Sentimental Mood” and “Body and Soul” highlight his immense skills in solo jazz guitar, great technique and taste with a clear warm sound and just the right amount of reverb on these well recorded tunes. He also sent me his CD “Follow That” (which has just been re-released) so I thought I would add this to the review of his new CD. “Follow That” was recorded in 1999 and is a swinging quartet album. It is a mixture of originals “Blues For Wes”, “One For My Dad” , “Flight of Fancy” and “The Wild Brown” as well as some of the finest tunes from the American songbook. The 9 minute opener “Blues For Wes” is a tour de force of jazz guitar dedicated to one of the greatest. “Prelude To a Kiss” is another example of Esmond’s fine solo guitar..“Serenata” is one of the best tracks on the album (9mins) , starting off with Esmond’s solo guitar before the group joins him and the tempo doubles into a real swinging version with a fine solo from pianist Paul Sawtell. This is a fine straight ahead CD with generous times on every tune. For this and other fine CD’s by Esmond Selwyn you can contact him on esmondselwyn@btinternet.com
JGSWA Newsletter December 2013.

 

07/01/2005 Brian Priestley

Jazzwise
The Wales-based leader of this quartet was perhaps best known as the guitarist with Don Rendell’s group for part of the 1980s, and I must admit I’d forgotten how good he sounds. This programme is fairly unambitious – five standards and four straightahead originals, two each by Selwyn and Sawtell – but the playing of these two is consistently interesting. I’m less enthusiastic about the pulse of Coleman’s bass, while the rendering of his sound (or that of his pick-up) and of the propulsive Robin Jones is not the most flattering – Sawtell doubled as recording engineer. Some variety is afforded by the three tracks done as guitar-piano duos, as well as the unaccompanied guitar on “Prelude To A Kiss” and the introduction of “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and Leroy Anderson’s “Serenata”. On balance, then, the guitar is where it’s at and it would be interesting to hear Selwyn in faster company next time.
Brian Priestley

 

11/09/2003 Jazz at Ronnie Scott's,

Jazz at Ronnie Scott's, no 134
We rarely see the much-admired Esmond Selwyn in London since he moved to Wales, but on his Follow That, with inspirational pianist-composer Paul Sawtell, bassist Bill Coleman and the incomparable drummer Robin Jones, Esmond blows my mind every time.
Just Jazz Guitars, Feb 2002
Esmond Selwyn Follow That

 

01/06/2003 Fred Grand

Jazz Review, June 2003
Never judge a book by its cover, or so the old saying goes. With one of the most aesthetically challenged CD booklets I’ve ever seen, the saying has seldom been more prescient than with Follow That. Too bad to be redeemed as kitsch, this is simply bad graphic design which does the product no favours. Expectations are of a sorry club-circuit singer’s homemade tribute to the music of Billy Fury or Alvin Stardust. Fortunately I’ve encountered Selwyn’s playing before, and whilst I’m sure that others already familiar with this infrequently recorded guitarist will be delighted to learn that he’s made a new album, the uninitiated (i.e. the vast majority) will be disinclined to give this a second glance for fear that they turn to stone. Shame, because Selwyn deserves far better, and his work compares favourably with recent recordings by Jim Mullen and the early work of Martin Taylor.
Playing with a clean, warm tone and dexterity and harmonic daring recalling Tal Farlow, Selwyn commands your attention by using taste, sensitivity and imagination. The opening “Blues For Wes” and Selwyn’s other composition “One For My Dad”, show a man comfortable in the post-bop/pre-fusion milieu. Pianist Paul Sawtell has a lyricism and harmonic depth coming straight from the Bill Evans lineage, and contributes two elegant originals. Neither Coleman nor Jones compromise the tight group sound, though Sawtell’s engineering has given the bass a rather harsh and decidedly non-woody sound. The remainder of the material is taken from the familiar standard repertoire and played with due reverence - sometimes as a quartet, at other times with Selwyn solo (“Prelude To A Kiss”) or in duet with Sawtell (“Just One Of Those Things”).
Fred Grand

 

17/04/2003 Howard Paul

In what appears to be a first commercial release as a leader, Esmond Selwyn has generated an attention-getting introduction from Great Britain¹s jazz guitar scene. A superb technician with flowing ideas and a driving energy, he propels his quartet through both standards and original compositions with great finesse. While Joe Pass¹ fingerprints are quite apparent, particularly in his melody-chord approach on ³Prelude to a Kiss² and ³Polka Dots and Moonbeams,² he offers a warm and comfortable approach to every track that highlights his mature style.
Outstanding pianist Paul Sawtell, Bill Coleman on double bass and Robin Jones on drums, provide the perfect support for Selwyn¹s guitar. Clearly veteran sidemen, they succeed in providing a tight, straight-ahead rhythm section, they understand the role of Selwyn¹s guitar and don¹t overwhelm it. Sawtell¹s own jazz waltz ³Flight of Fancy² provides ample opportunity for
the soloists to navigate though a flowing harmonic structure.
The mix of this recording could have been a little better. The guitar, particularly, is not quite in the forefront, and may be a little thin. While it does not degrade the quality of the performance, it could make the difference between a casual listener noting ³a nice guitarist² in passing, or dropping everything to find out who is this next great jazz guitarist. Often the thinness of guitar in trio and quartet recordings is caused by a deliberate effort to coax a lighter harmonic quality from the instrument. In this case, however, Selwyn¹s technique sounds aggressive enough. The engineer just didn¹t quite capture it.
Reviewed by Howard Paul

 

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