Artist: Peter Fairclough

Date of Release: 07/09/2009

Catalogue no: pfcd0901

Label: pfcds

Price: £10

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Track Listing


























































A collection of 12 beautiful and emotionally charged songs from the partnership of Peter Fairclough & Hayley Youell featuring the extraordinarily melodic Fred Thelonious Baker (bass & guitar) and the rarely heard but substantial jazz talents of Iona/Open Sky's Dave Bainbridge (keyboards & guitar). Recorded & produced by Nigel Pease and with lovely artwork by Stephen J Hemingway, this CD will be of interest to those who love the songwriting craft, jazz without rules & also those who may be missing touches of progressive rock in their audio-diet!

The CD comes in a gatefold cover and is accompanied by an exquisite 16-page booklet of Hayley's lyrics.

Momentarily by Fairclough & Youell
There is a real sense of progressive-rock/jazz theatre with some very sensitive impassioned performances and delicate touches along with sublime expressive improvisatory excursions from all contributors. The songs are very well crafted with precise attention to dynamic and textural detail; the harmony is responsive to the lyrics, which are meaningful and accessible. Repeated listens brings sonic rewards as further structural details and relationships are revealed.
Excellent work. Well done.
Grade: A+

Michael Brown MA, BSc, PGCE, AMusLCM
The University of Derby




14/02/2010 BOB MULVEY - DPRP

I wrote pages upon pages of notes whilst listening and reviewing this album and still I went back to tracks and jotted down additional comments. Condensing them proved to be nigh on impossible and in the end a different tack was needed or this review was ever going to appear.

So, Fairclough & Youell comprises of Peter Fairclough (drums & percussion), Hayley Youell (vocals & keyboards), Fred Thelonius Baker (bass) and Iona's Dave Bainbridge (keyboards, guitar & bouzouki). With the exception of Dave I suspect little would be known about the rest of our quartet. Peter, a teacher by day, has recorded with several artists and possibly the most notable (in prog terms) with Keith Tippett. Hayley has been involved in a number of projects/bands, whilst undertaking her studies, which is in fact where she met up with Peter. Fred has been part of Ric Sander's Second Vision. He has also worked with Phil Miller and sessioned with Nigel Kennedy and the late Johnny Dankworth. Their debut release, Momentarily, is a classy work that has its allegiances firmly rooted in the jazz camp, but not completely forsaking affiliations to the progressive genre, along with excursions into jazz/funk and even theatrical areas.

The music has a solid jazz foundation and the combination of Hayley Youell's beautiful voice and Fred Thelonius Baker's superb fretless work I was often led to Joni Mitchell's late 70's jazzier period, (Hissing Of Summer Lawn's) and especially the period that featured Jaco Pastorios (Hejira, Mingus & Shadows And Light). So what we have on Momentarily is carefully crafted songs which are in turn allowed to breathe, whether by dynamic or performance, improvisation or structure.

A track by track is out of the question, (as my mountain of scribbled notes will lay testament to) and as for are highlights - too many to mention. But mention there must be for my favourite track, (and as noted in the 2009 DPRPoll), the delightful Quicker Than Sand. Piano pulses out the chords accompanied by Hayley's warm and expressive voice. Add in Baker's emotive fretless, subtle keyboard orchestrations, Fairclough's jazzy drumming and percussion and we have six minutes of sheer bliss. But the track is nine minutes long? Rounding off the song is three minutes of top flight instrumental ensemble music. Each musician sparkling in their own right. Personally I would have bought the album just for this track, so for me the remaining pieces might be viewed as a bonus really.

And of those bonuses, Those Birds sees Baker stretching out his fingers - as the track progresses we find a wonderful percolating bass line reminiscent of Jeff Berlin. Trippin' raises the prog quotient - light and shade, a great vocal line and towards the end of the song Dave Bainbridge gets to let rip with one of his signature melodic solos. The piano steals the show during One Beat Stair. Three keyboard players are credited on the album, although its not clear who plays what and where. I'm going to plump for Dave Bainbridge here - superb stuff. Peter Fairclough gets to demonstrate (more) of his skills opening up 20:39. I could go on...

The production is crisp and clear, striking cover artwork courtesy of Steven Joseph Hemingway and informative packaging including a sixteen page booklet.

A little prog-lite for DPRP and certainly the album doesn't rock, but it certainly cooks and for those with a broader palette and an inclining towards the jazz/fusion/funk end of the spectrum, and even the Canterbury scene, should certainly check out this very fine release. My overall numeric conclusion is tempered by the nature of our site.

Conclusion: 7.5 out of 10


10/02/2010 Virtuosity - www.spiritualprog.com

Phenomenal English jazz drummer Peter Fairclough teams up with powerful vocalist Hayley Youell, Iona’s extraordinary guitarist and keyboardist Dave Bainbridge, and melodic fretless bass powerhouse and guitarist Fred Thelonius Baker to create tightly crafted yet whimsical fusion of jazz and progressive Joni-Mitchell-esque pop. Youell’s voice is pleasant and theatrical, even if she doesn't seem to stretch her range over much. The band is tight and the songs breathe with musical space even as they get your pulse pounding with infusions of mind blowing jazz improvisation. Bainbridge really shows off his classically trained piano chops throughout over the focused grooves of Fairclough and Baker. Fans looking for deep spiritual content won’t find much, but even while earthy and relationship oriented, the lyrics are poetic and accessible. The album was recorded and produced by Nigel Pease, and it sounds incredible. The packaging also features a fantastic 12 page booklet with all of the interesting lyrics included, so it is well worth purchasing a CD.

On to the musical highlights. The nine minute opener, Quicker than Sand, gets the ball rolling, mixing piano and fretless bass as a fine bed for Youell’s voluptuous voice. Toward the end, the song builds into an extended instrumental jam where Bainbridge and Baker really cut loose, making this one of the most powerful tracks on the album. Right off the bat, you can tell that this is a band that would take your breath away live. Tripping has an interesting beat with somewhat tongue in cheek lyrics, and features a blazing Bainbridge signature guitar solo on the prog-tastic instrumental finale. The song Cryptic starts out with some blazing piano and a thigh slapping groove, and is one of the more upbeat songs on the record. Shed adds some B-3 style organ to the mix over a tight bass groove, changing the musical palette a bit. The whimsical After Dark adds another twist with what sounds like nylon string guitar. 20:39 highlights Fairclough's exquisite drumming and may be the strongest track on the album. All in all, there are twelve finely crafted tracks, each with something interesting to delight your ears. Momentarily is a rather pleasant record for a casual listening, and is quite a jewel for lovers of jazz and progressive rock. Anyone who appreciates exceptional musicianship and well written songs would do well to pick up a copy. Definitely recommended


03/01/2010 Volkmar Mantei, www.ragazzi-music.de/

"Momentarily" ist ein zwischen Jazz, Liedhaftem und Rock tendierendes, exzellentes Werk des Schlagzeugers Peter Fairclough, der mit vielen Größen zusammen gearbeitet hat, etwa mit Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmall, Ute Lemper, David Cross und Mike Westbrook sowie Hayley Youell (voc, key), die mit The British Expeditionary Force, A Certain Kind of Person & Tiny Little Secrets arbeitete. Fred Thelonious Baker (b, g, Phil Miller's In Cahoots, Soft Machine, Harry Beckett, Karen Street) und Dave Bainbridge (key, g, Bouzouki, Iona), dessen Jazztalent bislang augenfällig unterschätzt wurde, ergänzen das Line-Up kongenial.
Zu hören sind 12 Songs, eher entspannte Stücke, partiell poppig und leicht eingängig, mit illustren Gesangspartien ausgestattet, deren Gesangslinien von feinem Jazz durchflossen sind, die aber auch schon mal Hitpotential haben können, wie etwa die Jazz-Pop-Ballade "Overload", deren fast 7 Minuten nicht mehr aus dem Kopf gehen, nachdem sie ein paar Mal ihre Reize ausgebreitet haben. Zuvor gibt es das neunminütige "Quicker Than Sand" als Opener, das auch auf der (unten angegebenen) Myspace-Seite des Duos zu hören ist, und das als langes Vokalstück beginnt, bis es von intensivem, wenn auch leichtem Jazz eingefangen wird. Was da - wie in vielen anderen Songs - an Interplay zwischen Piano, Bass und Schlagzeug passiert, ist überwältigend.
Rockfans werden ihr Tun haben, sich an die liedhaften Songs zu gewöhnen, die leichten, leisen, nachvollziehbaren Ideen zu mögen. Und doch sind die Stücke vor allem aus Rock gemacht, wenn die instrumentalen Improvisationen und solistischen Abgründe zumeist auch tief in Jazz aufgehen. Was Bassist Baker macht, ist grandios. Knackige Funk-Technik in eingängigen Partien, melodische Vielfältigkeit in symphonischen Passagen, in Jazz-Flächen und Rocksoli, da ist viel mehr als versiertes Handwerk. Dave Bainbridge spielt sich, hat es den Anschein, frei. Seine Pianobeiträge wechseln in einer Improvisation, einem Solo beständig zwischen Jazz und Pop, zwischen liedhafter Eingängigkeit und dieser melodischen Extravaganz, die nur im Jazz so vielfältig auffährt.
Einer der schönsten Songs auf "Momentarily" ist "Those Birds". Auf dunkler Keyboardfläche spielt Baker ein schweres, virtuoses Bassmotiv so leichthändig, dass der Hörgenuss überwältigend ist. Piano + Bass + Schlagzeug samt Stimme machen die virtuose Komposition in dieser popfernen Rasanz ungemein intensiv und leidenschaftlich bis zum letzten Ton.
Die zwei letzten Minuten von "Trippin'" spielt Dave Bainbridge eines seiner exzellenten Gitarrensoli, er spielt sich heiß, wird immer schneller und wilder, bis - leider! - der Song plötzlich abgewürgt wird, wohl um dem Ding Gitarrensolo an sich die Wichtigkeit zu nehmen und darauf hinzuweisen, dass es Gedudel sein kann, was es hier nicht ist. Wie dem auch sei, die involvierten Musiker sind alt genug, tausende von Gitarrensoli gehört zu haben und sich auf melancholische Tiefe zu konzentrieren, der Ausfall war geplant, zeigt aber auch, wie anders der Song - und vielleicht die ganze Platte - klingen könnte, wenn die Band mehr Wert auf Rock als auf Jazz gelegt hätte. Und Jazz hat definitiv die Überhand. Ist Basis und Anliegen der CD.
Bis zum letzten Song bleibt das Album stets intensiv, Pianojazz und liedhafte Jazzballaden wechseln sich mit instrumentalen Stücken ab, deren Interplay stets sehr ausgewogen ist. Die Songs sind eingängig und leicht, ohne sich anzubiedern, oder Pop zu sein. Und wenn manche Idee Pop genannt werden kann, dann wegen ihrer Leichtigkeit in der Komposition, und nicht in der komplexen instrumentalen Ausführung.
Hier treffen viele gute Dinge aufeinander. Die handwerklichen Fähigkeiten der Musiker, die intuitiven Feinheiten, das Aufeinanderzugehen der Melodiker, das Interplay, die plötzliche Rasanz einiger Soli (vor allem am Piano, vom Keyboard begleitet), die grandiose Stimme von Hayley Youell und die wunderbaren Gesangslinien.
Das 11-minütige "Little Steps" am Ende der CD ist ein weiterer potentieller Jazzhit. Die letzten Minuten sind rein Cymbals, der Song an sich etwa 7 Minuten lang. Leise, melancholisch, verträumt beginnt die Note, mit hintergründiger, leiser, schwer düsterer Keyboarduntermalung, Fred Thelonious Bakers herausragendem, besonderen Bassspiel, Piano und Stimme. Ganz langsam geht die Band ihr Motiv an und zaubert eine lebhafte Fülle darein, die grandios ist.
"Momentarily" ist ein stilles, feines Meisterwerk an den Grenzpunkten zwischen Jazz und Rock. Ungewöhnlich, intensiv, dabei eingängig und liedhaft, komplex, herausfordernd und doch ohne größeren Sachverstand schlicht genießbar. Klingt wie erwachsen gewordener Canterbury Prog, so, wie Progfans sich erwachsen gewordenen Canterbury Prog wünschen. Und was ist Canterbury Prog?


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