Paul Booth

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Reviews of Paul Booth


05/05/2004 Paul Scott for Musician magazine

t’s Happening, Paul Booth Jazzizit JITCD 0432

This is Paul Booth’s first album under his own name. For those of you that have never heard Paul play live, this CD is a chance to experience a small part of his talent.
His ballad playing on In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning is achingly beautiful. There are odd-time excursions on It’s Happening, and on You And The Night And The Music. On E&G, a soul-funk workout, the unison tenor sax and guitar line is seamless. He ventures into John Surman territory on Antivity, with layers of saxophone riffs under the soprano melody. Steve Waterman’s flugel on Together is a real treat.

It’s happening. It certainly is. Buy it.


05/05/2004 Chris Yates for Jazz UK

It’s Happening Jazzizit JITCD 0432 Considering that saxophonist Paul Booth was active on the Tyneside jazz scene at 13 in 1990, his debut album has taken a while to emerge. But he’s secured a Royal Academy jazz degree, toured the world with Riverdance and become the first non-American to win the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship Award since then. Superb piano throughout from Mike Gorman here, and powerful guest appearances from trumpeter Steve Waterman and trombonist Barnaby Dickinson – with Booth impressing both as a varied and accomplished improviser and a strikingly original composer. Ballad playing is a Booth strength, and his consummate reading of ‘In The Wee Small Hours’ constitutes a major highlight. But he has no problem blowing up the proverbial storm on Freddie Hubbard’s ‘Byrdlike’.


15/02/2004 Ken Cheetham

Tenor saxophonist Paul Booth has been playing from the age of ten and started to play on the North East scene when he was just l3. He was accepted by The Royal Academy of Music at 15, to study on their four-year degree course in jazz. Paul graduated with honours. At 16 he was Winner of "The Most Promising Jazz Player of the Year Under 21", and at 18, out of 400 entrants, he became the first non-American to win the prestigious Clifford Brown/Stan Getz fellowship in Miami. Since then, he has played with a number of musicians and in a variety of styles, and you can hear this on this album - not his first recording date by any means, but his own debut.

Playing with Dave Grusin, the Mike Garrick Big Band, the European Glenn Miller Orchestra, Pop Idol Big Band, Martine McCutcheon, Ola, pianist Alex Wilson, Jane Monheit and appearing on 'Jazz with Julian Joseph' on TV as well as touring Europe, Asia and Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Broadway with 'Riverdance' all have had their diverse influences.

I might be forgiven I think for saying that I heard some Michael Brecker through parts of this album, but it's really common influences bleeding through. Both demonstrate the melodic expressiveness and tonal warmth of Stan Getz and the tonal depth of John Coltrane, but here we also have some of Coltrane's speed and accuracy - almost his 'sheets of sound'.

The album is an unusual mix, the quartet of Booth, Gorman, Herbert and Higginbottom being supplemented on tracks 7 and 10 by Steve Waterman on trumpet and flugelhorn and Barnaby Dickinson on trombone, on 3 and 4 by Gareth Lockrane on flutes, and on4 and 5 by Mike Outram on guitar. I feel that Paul is using this diversity to explore and utilize his vast experiences, and one hears echoes of big band orchestration in those extra horns. The influence of Paul's Cuban experience and his own Brazilian-styled band Oxalá, a seven piece group that plays in a variety of styles including drum 'n' bass, funk, jazz and salsa, is heard behind the flutes and elsewhere.

This improbable line-up of outstanding musicians does Paul's music and his debut album proud. It is thoroughly enjoyable and highly accomplished, an album I shall be playing for my friends time and again. There are no stars to single out really, lest it be Paul himself, for they all perform like stars. This album is a real diamond and every bit as hard.


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