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Ross Milligan

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Reviews of Ross Milligan

 

03/09/0006 Debbie Koritas

Rambles.NET Jazz Reviews

Ross Milligan
Passing Places
Timecube Records 2006 TCRCD101

His playing is understated, yet it speaks volumes about a dazzlingly musical mind, and I'm delighted to have come across Ross Milligan's debut album. 'Passing Places' is an outstanding contemporary collection of original compositions for electric and acoustic guitar revealing the finest ear for melody, each composition rich in detail, emotion and expression. Arrangements are musically very generous, with the core musicians giving each other ample space. Milligan is joined by first-rate musicians Paul Harrison (piano), Brian Shiels (bass) and Alyn Cosker (drums). Their playing supple and fluid, they communicate wonderfully.

A beautifully ranging, compositionally very 'complete' album, it embraces the gamut of jazz stylings. Milligan quite simply gets it right every time, properly focusing on lyricism, nuance, drama, emotion and rhythm.

The thirteen tracks offer so much: 'White Vans Make the World Go Round' sees the banjo in a most unusual jazz setting, and the interplay with Martin Kershaw's saxophone is excellent. There's the folk-tinged 'Rivers Run', the album's only vocal track. 'Time Cube' is angular and dramatic, whilst the superb 'Three Wishes' builds steadily and climactically, giving way to a stunningly melodic guitar solo.

The 'quieter' tunes are often breathtaking in their simplicity, resonant with detail, but always ambient and evocative. You just couldn't fault 'The Silence of Winter', or 'Counting the Hours', or the exquisite 'Passing Places', a gorgeously poised, reflective piece.

Anyone interested in musical 'connections' won't be surprised to learn that Scots-born Ross is jazz pianist David Milligan's brother. This is beautiful music to be enjoyed and revisited ' I recommend this to anyone who appreciates good music in any genre.

Debbie Koritsas

 

22/06/0006 minor 7th magazine

On this debut CD, Scotsman Ross Milligan serves up a very tasty program of contemporary jazz. While Milligan plays some acoustic rhythm and banjo, his main contributions are on a warm-sounding semi-hollowbody electric guitar. His quartet includes pianist Paul Harrison, bassist Brian Shels and Alyn Cosker on drums. Martin Kershaw plays sax on 5 tracks and John Nichol sings on "Rivers Run," the set's only vocal. "Three Wishes" recalls the Pat Metheny Group, minus that group's synth sounds and sampling. "Wasp Dance" recalls the hard-driving post bop of Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley. The title tune begins with a fingerpicked guitar, which is soon joined by piano, light percussion and a lead bass line, before giving way to a great modal improvisation by Paul Harrison on piano. "Passing Places" ends with a mere 45 seconds of lead acoustic guitar, yet it all comes off perfectly. The brief "This is Just to Say" ends the disc with double-tracked acoustic guitars by Milligan. While this CD doesn't give prominence to Milligan's guitar, it is strong on many levels: great compositions, arrangements and blowing, all conveyed with clear, unmuddied sound. The music on this CD has a timeless quality and I recommend it without reservation. Patrick Ragains
minor7th magazine

 

13/06/0006 Musician Magazine

13 mostly instrumental tracks of reflective mood, deftly produced, subtle in tone and texture, and paced cleverly to maintain intrigue and interest. The mix of Milligan's banjo and the sax of Martin Kershaw on White Vans make the world go round, followed by the beautiful piano of classical, Counting the hours, demonstrates how Ross is able to move between styles with consummate professionalism. Excellent.
Musician magazine

 

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