Chapter One

Artist: Jim Richardson

Date of Release: 15/10/2009

Catalogue no: ARCD 1004

Label: Actone Records

Price: £10

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Track Listing







Blue Nun (JJ Johnson)




Mitch (Tommy Garvin)




Liz'Anne (Caj Tjader)




Chapter One (Phil Lee)




Denial (Phil Lee)




Dee's Dilemma* (Jimmy Heath)




Crazy She Calls Me (Carl Sigman / Bob Russell)




Passages (Art Koenig)




Nefertiti (Wayne Shorter)




The Meeting* (Rene Thomas)






Appearances by

Phil Lee

Jim Richardson's Octopus:
Jim Richardson (bass)
Phil Lee (guitar)
Bob Martin (sax)
Clark Tracey (drums)
except * Matt Fishwick (drums)




29/07/2010 Tony Augarde

We haven't reviewed any albums on the Actone label before, but this is not surprising as the company was only formed in 2007. Two jazz fans - Fred Fuller and Don Burrell - ran regular jazz sessions at various London pubs and decided (as pure amateur enthusiasts) to issue recordings of some of the artists that they heard. One night Don went out for a drink with bassist Jim Richardson, and Jim gave him numerous CDs of material that Jim had recorded over the years. This album is one of two assembled from that material.

Jim Richardson is something of a jazz veteran, having played for such people as Nat Temple (for a summer season in the Isle of Wight!), John Dankworth, Dick Morrissey, Vic Ash, Georgie Fame and Nigel Kennedy. Guitarist Phil Lee has been around for almost as long, working for the likes of Graham Collier, Mike Gibbs, Tony Coe and Michael Garrick. Both the drummers are well know on the British jazz scene, and the only newcomer is saxist Bob Martin, an American who actually came to London after working in the Buddy Rich Big Band.

At any rate, these musicians' experience comes through brightly on this album right from the start. J. J. Johnson's Blue Nun is a rabble-rousing up-tempo flurry that displays Bob Martin's dexterity on the alto and Phil Lee's facility on guitar. Clark Tracey tops it all off with an outstanding drum solo. Mitch is a delicate bounce and Liz Anne is even dreamier.

Phil Lee contributes a couple of originals: the title-track (a mid-tempo tune which suggests that Bob Martin should be much better known) and Denial, which opens with the double bass (arco and then pizzicato) from Jim Richardson, with the drums clattering in the background, before Bob Martin comes in with the angular theme. Both he and Phil Lee play worthy solos.

Crazy She Calls Me is delivered as a feature for Phil Lee's educated guitar, accompanied simply by the double bass for most of the track, although Bob Martin adds a fine chorus on alto. Passages is a subtle bossa nova, but Wayne Shorter's Nefertiti has a tendency to drift. The Meeting ends the CD with a bright tempo and duetting between sax and guitar which reminds me a bit of Lennie Tristano's similar voicings. Jim Richardson gets one of his few chances for a bass solo.

Jim Richardson has put together an exquisite quartet and he supplies a solid bass throughout the album, which is given added interest by the choice of unhackneyed tunes.

Tony Augarde - Music Web International


01/05/2010 Mark Gardner

Recorded in the late 1990s, this set features a quartet led by bassist Jim Richardson in the company of American alto saxophonist Bob Martin, guitarist Phil Lee and drummers Clarke Tracey or Matt Fishwick. These men thrive on material by JJ Johnson, Cal Tjader, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter & Rene Thomas with a couple of nice contributions by Phil Lee. The music is fresh, well ordered and full of mobility. In Martin & Lee, Richardson has two splendid soloists, while the leader looks after time & motion flawlessly with either drummer. The outcome is a most satisfying release. Sample either Dee’s Dilemma (Heath) or Nefertiti (Shorter) to catch the full flavour of the quartet’s capabilities.


01/04/2010 Pete Vacher

This session took place some years ago and Richardson told me that he had shopped around for a while before placing it with this new musician-run label. Actone is based, reasonably enough given its name, in Acton, and seems set on presenting UK musicians who might otherwise not get a hearing on record. Paradoxically, Chapter One's principal solo voice belongs to a US ex-pat, altoist Bob Martin, a UK resident for the past dozen or so years, and caught here in scintillating form. He opens the batting on JJ Johnson's original "Blue Nun", Woods-like in his speed & facility, the ideas bubbling up ahead of Lee's crisp entry over Richardson's inspirational beat & Tracey's cymbal drive. Piano-less & compact, this is jazz of superior quality and it's great to hear former Buddy Rich sideman Martin in this kind of form and at this length. "Mitch" by Tommy Garvin is marginally slower, Martin's perky sound dominant with Lee laid back, almost enigmatic, in his solo. The guitarist contributes a pair of tunes of his own, "Chapter One", a waltz and "Denial", Martin irrepressible on the former, more searching on the latter. Jimmy Heath's "Dee's Dilemma" is a boppish line, voiced of alto & guitar before it settles into a fast-moving Martin run-through. The 10-minute version of Crazy She Calls Me is more relaxed, and it's this kind of variety that turns what is essentially an alto-plus-rhythm line-up into something quite special. Recommended

Pete Vacher - Jazz Journal


01/02/2010 Pete Vacher

Rather more up-to-date, bassist Jim Richardson’s Octopus “Chapter One” (Actone Records) has still taken time to appear, but on the evidence was well worth the wait. US expat Bob Martin slipstreams the theme on JJ Johnson’s Blue Nun in exhilarating fashion. This piano-less quartet teams his bright alto with Phil Lee’s crisp guitar and drummer Clark Tracey and Richardson underpinning the beat. Theirs is music of rare quality, technically astute, but uplifting all the way.

Pete Vacher: Jazz UK


08/01/2010 Jack Massarik

An expert double-bassist who has worked with American stars galore, Tottenham-born Jim Richardson knows a good thing when he hears it.
Two unsung local heroes, guitarist Phil Lee and altoist Bob Martin, figure in his latest London group.
Martin, originally from Atlantic City, has the warm sound and superb fluency of a latter-day Phil Woods, while Lee, who contributes two originals in Chapter One and Denial, displays the taste and economy of a British Jim Hall.
Richardson's occasional bass solos are of similarly heavyweight class. Drummers Clark Tracey or Matt Fishwick round out the kind of quartet that gives straight-ahead neobop a good name.


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