Artist: Liam Noble

Date of Release: 06/04/2009

Catalogue no: SRCD27-2

Label: Basho

Price: £8.99

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Track Listing







Give A Little Whistle




It's A Raggy Waltz




In Your Own Sweet Way 1




Sixth Sense








Autumn In Washington Square




Take Five




La Paloma Azul




Three To Get Ready




Rising Sun




Blue Rondo A La Turk




In Your Own Sweet Way 2






This is the Liam Noble Trio’s first recording, despite working together for many years, both as a rhythm section and an autonomous group. Liam has long been known for his highly original piano playing, his in depth knowledge of a number of the great jazz masters including Ellington and Bill Evans. But his longstanding admiration for Dave Brubeck is clearly demonstrable in this fascinating collection of some of Brubeck’s best known pieces. Dave Brubeck’s comments on the recording reveal Liam’s depth of understanding of this music providing new insights into its interpretation.
Liam Noble Piano, Dave Whitford Double Bass,Dave Wickins Drums and Percussion




10/04/2009 Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times ****

Noble, with his longstanding collaborators Dave Whitford (bass) and Dave Wickins (drums), is on no nostalgic exercise in this tour of material written by, or associated with, Dave Brubeck. The percussive piano, for instance, is less an echo of Brubeck’s attack than of Noble’s concern, among other things, to emphasise the instrument’s capacity for sound. He and his intuitively united trio have other ideas, at times stretching the material’s boundaries to bursting point and beyond. Some Brubeck fans may look askance at the risk-taking, but on the superbly resolved Sixth Sense , Autumn In Washington Square , the unfettered dialogue of Blue Rondo A La Turk , and the lush yet tart exoticism of La Paloma Azul , it’s arresting. And the brilliance, passion and wide-ranging sensibility Noble brings to bear on them remain rooted in a very contemporary perspective.


06/04/2009 Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast

If you were lucky enough to hear pianist Liam Noble, double bassist Dave Whitford and drummer Dave Wickins playing this material – all closely associated with Dave Brubeck – when they toured earlier in the year then you will know this is a (polygamous) marriage made in heaven.

Brubeck’s lovely ballad, In Your Own Sweet Way, is here in trio and solo piano versions and is the ideal place to start to hear Noble’s insights into a pianist and composer he has studied both academically and as a fan, and it has both those elements. It’s like hearing an insightful lecture on Brubeck but with affectionate artistry replacing any hint of dry scholarship.

There are more obscure Brubeck tunes, as well as the hits (It’s a Raggy Waltz, Blue Rondo A La Turk and Paul Desmond’s Take Five). We might be forgiven had we wearied of the latter, but these reworkings are so fresh and so fascinating that our interest is reinvigorated.

I must confess that, although I have been hearing Brubeck since I was a child, and appreciate his place in jazz, I have always had a problem with the sound he makes at the piano – no such qualms with Noble.

The internal workings of the trio, Noble’s complete understanding and determination to extend this music, the witty artwork of the cover, all go towards making this one of the recordings of the year.


06/04/2009 Kenny Mathieson, The Scotsman* * * *

DAVE Brubeck's Time Out is one of a handful of seminal jazz albums released 50 years ago. Liam Noble's tribute to Brubeck does not make a direct reference to that anniversary, although his selection of a dozen tunes from the pianist's repertoire does include cleverly re-imagined versions of three of its most famous compositions, including the legendary Take Five, and Blue Rondo à la Turk.

Noble is centrally concerned with the possibilities for expansion inherent in Brubeck's example rather than in simply replicating what the American did, and suffuses his compelling interpretations of tunes such as It's a Raggy Waltz, two versions of the classic In Your Own Sweet Way and the less familiar Sixth Sense with an original, personal slant.

Dave Whitford (bass) and Dave Wickens (drums) provide exemplary support in an album that is much more than a conventional tribute.


04/04/2009 All About Jazz

That dynamic interplay between Brubeck and Desmond was never more apparent than on the bona fide hit "Take Five," which is even all the more remarkable in the hands of the Liam Noble Trio. On their disc of eponymous interpretations simply entitled Brubeck, Noble on piano propels the iconic jazz track into waters that even the master himself admits he hasn't charted with this material. This 11-song CD is stunning in its complexities squeezed from a trio tackling material written by and for a quartet. The missing counter to Noble, Dave Whitford's double bass and Dave Wickins' drums, is the alto sax of Desmond. This space is only glaring on "It's a Raggy Waltz," but is remarkably filled by Noble and Whitford on the classic "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and "La Paloma Azul". A fitting homage filled with abstraction and space in its approach to the apex of Brubeck's commercial catalogue—one that is richer and more complex than some may suspect with just the cursory listen.



03/04/2009 John Fordham, The Guardian 5 STARS *****

This reappraisal of Dave Brubeck's work is so good that the jazz legend himself declared it "an inspiration and a challenge for me to carry on in the avenues that you have opened". Brubeck was an early inspiration for UK pianist Liam Noble, and here Noble takes a dozen of his classics - including Take Five, It's a Raggy Waltz, and Blue Rondo à la Turk - and gives them drastic makeovers. However, he is unfailingly respectful of the original melodies, even if he sometimes leaves it until the track is nearly over before bringing them in. Noble is a supreme motivic improviser, in the manner of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and, latterly, Brad Mehldau - not only in the way he unearths fresh melodies on the fly, but entwines them with earlier ideas in the solo and tell-tale echoes of the theme. He delivers a poignant and eventually audacious In Your Own Sweet Way; and introduces Take Five as a folksy doodle, barely related to the original, then turns it into a churning vamp, ending with the theme. On Blue Rondo, the stabbing chords, cymbal crashes and metallic treble sounds don't give way to the famous tune until the final moments. Bassist Dave Whitford and drummer Dave Wickins are key partners in what amounts to a tour de force. No wonder the octogenarian Brubeck thinks it might help him start all over again.


01/04/2009 Philip Clark, The Wire

Dave Brubeck gives British pianist Liam Noble the sort of plug that’s a publicist’s wet dream. Not surprisingly, Noble has reproduced it on the flipside of his cover. “This CD will be an inspiration for me,” Brubeck writes. “I’ve never gone so far into the unknown as you three, but I have opened the door and peaked in. Your CD is an invitation to enter.”
And I’d chuck into that equation the thought that Noble – a pianist who crosses from jazz into free improv with ease – hears in Brubeck’s playing, alongside his roots in blues and swing, a free jazz mindset. Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton heard that liberated side of his playing too, and in his album of Brubeck compositions Noble has extracted this benevolent anarchy and exploded it on to an epic canvas.
Back in 1959, the Brubeck Quartet’s version of “Three To Get Ready” was elegant and unflustered. Noble stamps on that mood by flattening the alternating bars of 3/4 and 4/4 that gave the original its poise. He sucks Brubeck’s line into an out of tempo slipstream that bassist Dave Whitford and drummer Dave Wickins perpetually reform with scratchy timbres and concertinaed time: having extrapolated his spiky, fizzling energies, Noble re-introduces fragments of Brubeck’s original under his dense textures.
“Take Five” and “Blue Rondo A La Turk” are like modern catchphrases, but Noble is unfazed. He moves towards “Take Five” twisting its harmonies around 360 degrees, running to catch up with Brubeck’s iconic vamp as it appears on the horizon. There are some niche Brubeck compositions here too: “Sixth Sense” opens up into a monumental blues, while he catchy “Cassandra” features Wickins’s “Baby Dodds meets Tony Oxley” solo.


01/04/2009 Jazzwise, Selwyn Harris

Although it could be said about a lot of British jazz musicians, the London pianist Liam Noble is more deserving of our attention than most. Maybe he doesn’t help himself on his new CD; Dave Brubeck is hardly the hippest name to pay tribute to. Yet Noble has always been right on the pulse as far as contemporary jazz piano is concerned; so perhaps it really comes down to the art of improvising itself not being in fashion. At any rate, on his fourth CD, and third for London’s Basho Records, Noble lets his playing do the talking. The trio consists of bassist Dave Whitford and fellow Bobby Wellins sideman, drummer Dave Wickens, who form a dynamic interactive unit with Noble on this challenging yet tantalising treatment of the tunes associated with American jazz pianist-composer. Noble is an unpredictable pianist; he’s absorbed the traditions of Ellington and Hines, the playful, off-centeredness of Monk right the way through to Cecil Taylor and an assortment of Classical music. In terms of contemporary pianists, he’s probably closest in his approach to Brad Mehldau. But Noble doesn’t shy away from playing the hits, deconstructing them with an understated wit that makes piano trio The Bad Plus sound heavy-handed: ‘Take Five’ and ‘Blue Rondo a La Turk’ appear incognito at first, only gradually uncovering their memorable themes. On the traditional ‘La Paloma Azul’ and ‘It’s a Raggy Waltz’ the situation is reversed; at first the melodies are celebrated in all their glory but without over-sentimentalizing. The album also includes intriguing glimpses at Brubeck’s more obscure quartet material from the Impressions of Japan and ... of New York and Time In albums from the 60’s. Rarely does a tribute album sound this good yet still inspire you to go back and look up the originals.


27/03/2009 Andrew Vine Yorkshire Post

Liam Noble's been making waves on the British jazz scene for a while, and his string of recent records have been excellent. This, though, is his best CD so far. He's paying tribute to one of his piano heroes, Dave Brubeck, and the air of passion, commitment and spontaneity makes for a deeply satisfying programme. Noble finds new things to say on such Brubeck staples as Take Five, Blue Rondo a la Turk and In Your Own Sweet Way. He also unearths lesser-known items such as Rising Sun and Cassandra and performs with affection and invention. Warmly recommended.


01/03/2009 Phil Johnson, The Independent

Yes, postmodernism has made Dave Brubeck cool again, although he was always rather po-mo himself, pretentious and corny in equal parts. Pianist Noble's trio with Dave Whitford on bass and Dave Wickins on drums fairly rattles along, swinging madly on the opening "Give a Little Whistle" and getting suitably sentimental on two versions of "In Your Own Sweet Way", one of the great jazz standards. By the time they get to Paul Desmond's "Take Five", they're flying. A very effective tribute.


20/02/2009 Al Brownlee, Manchester Evening News ****

In a project that makes solid commercial and artistic sense, pianist Liam Noble here explores the legacy of Dave Brubeck. He has thoroughly absorbed Brubeck’s mischief, exuberance, unsquare sense of rhythm and criss-cross counterpoint. Give A Little Whistle and It’s A Raggy Waltz capture the proper exultant spirit.
But Noble is a creative musician, and imitation is not an option. So Take Five slips into its famous theme from an unlikely angle and Blue Rondo A La Turk emerges from fragments and is gone the moment it becomes recognisable.
‘Further out’ indeed, but the sleeve carries a nice endorsement from Brubeck himself. The two-Dave rhythm team of Whitford and Wickens acquit themselves with distinction.


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