New View

Artist: Chris Laurence

Date of Release: 23/04/2007

Catalogue no: SRCD18-2

Label: Basho

Price: £5.99

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Track Listing







Falling Grace (Steve Swallow)




Scrim (John Parricelli)




Jack Stix (Stan Sulzmann)




Where Do We Go From Here? (Kenny Wheeler)




Canter (Kenny Wheeler)




Mintro (Chris Laurence)




Chappaqua (Andy Laverne)




Going for a Burton (John Surman)




Sly Eyes (Kenny Wheeler)




Last Chance Lost (Joni Mitchell)




Between Moons (John Taylor)






Appearances by

John Parricelli, Martin France, Norma Winstone

Chris Laurence (bass), Frank Ricotti (vibes), John Parricelli (guitar), Martin France (drums) plus special guest Norma Winstone




04/05/2007 John Kelman, All About Jazz.com

Bassist Chris Laurence, nearing sixty, has been a fixture on the British scene for many years, working regularly in the jazz sphere with artists including reedman John Surman, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and pianist John Taylor. He's recorded pop sessions with the likes of Elvis Costello, Sting and David Gilmour, and remains active in the classical community, playing on orchestral film soundtracks including The Constant Gardener and The Man in the Iron Mask.
New View is Laurence's long-overdue debut as a leader. With a lineup featuring vibraphonist Frank Ricotti, guitarist John Parricelli and drummer Martin France, comparisons to late 1960s-early 1970s Gary Burton are to be expected. And with tracks like Surman's “Going for a Burton,” it's clear that's exactly what Laurence has in mind.

The references are many, including opening the disc with longtime Burton collaborator/bassist Steve Swallow's “Falling Grace.” However, unlike Swallow, who switched exclusively to electric bass in the early 1970s, Laurence's allegiance remains with the acoustic variety. His warm, rounded tone states the theme to Swallow's classic over a rubato wash of color from Ricotti, but when France and Parricelli enter, the gentle but interactive pulse that has defined his work is in clear evidence.

Laurence's group is notable for the acclaim each member has in Britain, while not yet achieving deserved acclaim in North America. Whether it's the clean electric tone of his work on “Falling Grace,” the distorted edge of his own buoyant 5/4 “Scrim” or his classical guitar work on Wheeler's melancholy ballad “Where Do We Go From Here?” (also featuring a beautiful arco intro by Laurence), Parricelli is a musical chameleon who paradoxically retains his personality. Like Parricelli, Ricotti is a player who leans towards spare interpretation, abstract coloration and a lyrical approach to soloing.

France is another shape shifter who can transform a delicate piece like Stan Sulzmann's “Jack Stix,” giving it just the right hint of force and purposeful tension and release. His lone solo on “Going for a Burton” is a combination of potent force and strong construction, while he's in perfect synch on Wheeler's tango-esque “Sly Eyes. Vocalist Norma Winstone guests on the characteristically harmonic ambiguity of Joni Mitchell's “Last Chance Lost” and the bass pattern-driven “Canter,” another Wheeler tune that features a less idiosyncratic but nevertheless Frisell-like solo from Parricelli.

Laurence is clearly a democratic leader, but what he brings to New View, in addition to an astute choice of band mates and material, is an homage to Burton's guitar-based groups that transcends mere mimicry. It's a fine debut and one that will hopefully be the start of a somewhat late-in-life solo career.


25/04/2007 Jack Massarik. Evening Standard

It's unusual to find an instrumental star waiting until middle age to release an album under his own name, but that's jazz for you - the art-form where fame can be even more elusive than respect.

Chris Laurence was winning double-bass polls long before stars like Jamie Cullum were born, yet his recording debut as a bandleader came only this week, decades into an illustrious career that has included studio albums with Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Sting and Paul McCartney.

New View (Basho Records) is his maiden album, and while the novelty aspect is only nominal, the music is top-class in every other respect.

Sophisticated improvisation and technical excellence were the norm last night when his all-star quartet tested the rarefied acoustics of this off-Baker Street church.

John Parricelli, a guitarist of rare taste and fluency, was the star turn, but vibraphonist Frank Ricotti found it harder to cut through the swirling supersonics. Often his agile four-mallet solo work blurred into one woollen chord.

Chris, seated on a tall stool, leaned over the shoulder of the bass, with his short-sleeved T-shirt liberating the bulging forearms of a lifetime double-bass toiler.

His programme featured pieces by US bassist Steve Swallow, Kenny Wheeler, saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and members of the group. All were relaxed and deceptively simple themes based on complex chord changes - music stronger on harmonic ingenuity than rhythmic ferocity.

Martin France's drums listened rather than led, but the group's collective heat was marginally too hot to be labelled chamber-jazz.


21/04/2007 Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph

Veteran classical and jazz bass player Chris Laurence leads his own group for the first time on this album, which also features vibraphonist Frank Ricotti, drummer Martin France and guitarist John Paricelli, with the peerless Norman Winstone appearing as a guest on two tracks.

The sound has a great refinement, propelled gently along by Martin France, its smooth surface flecked by Parricelli's sly guitar licks. But it's a relief when the prevailing coolness is broken by Winstone's moving version of Joni Mitchell's Last Chance Lost.


20/04/2007 Andrew Vine Yorkshire Post

Laurence is an excellent British bassist, and this debut album has a class about it that comes from his vast experience in several genres of music. He's put together a very good quartet featuring guitarist John Parricelli and vibes player Frank Ricotti for a thoughtful programme of unhackneyed tunes, all of which are delivered with brio. Singer Norma Winstone sits in on Canter and Last Chance Lost, and she's brilliant. The instrumentals highlights include Jack Stix and Sly Eyes.


02/04/2007 Ian Mann 24 Dash.com

a mature, intelligent record performed by four masters of their craft. It is relaxed but thoughtful and executed with such a high degree of technical ability that it all sounds effortless. This is an understated gem of a record that charms from start to finish.


03/03/2007 Chris Parker Vortex website

When previewing some of the material on this album at the Vortex in October 2006, bassist/leader Chris Laurence used reedsman Julian Siegel and pianist Pete Saberton, plus drummer Martin France; only France is featured on the recording, the quartet otherwise including vibes player Frank Ricotti and guitarist John Parricelli. The resulting sound is therefore relatively unusual, Ricotti's vibes in particular imparting a soft, lustrous feel to the music, and Parricelli's judicious alternation between electric and acoustic instruments bringing additional textural variety to the mix. The quartet's repertoire is drawn mainly from compositions by musicians with whom Laurence has worked regularly (Stan Sulzmann, Kenny Wheeler, John Surman, John Taylor), and it is approached with the scrupulous adherence to musicianly values that has characterised Laurence's approach over the years; the overall impression is thus of control, balance and attention to nuance, but this delicacy and care conceals considerable power, even in the album's quietest moments. France in particular is essential to this process, seldom actually stating, but always tellingly implying the beat, and both Parricelli (who produces a number of cogent solos, but is also a master of the effective accompanying touch, a swooning chord here, a spiky little run there) and Ricotti's burnished, glowing vibes explore the album's various themes with characteristic elegance and tastefulness. It is Laurence, however, who quietly and unassumingly takes centre stage, his intensely melodic but propulsive playing always drawing the ear, whether he's playing arco theme statements or setting up subtly vigorous fingered bass patterns under his soloists. Also including a couple of vocal tracks from Norma Winstone (Joni Mitchell's 'Last Chance Lost', from Turbulent Indigo a particular highlight), this is a superb album, initially easy on the ear, yet revealing fresh subtleties each time it's played.


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