Here we have what may, I suppose, be designated a jazz-rock album (a rarity these days, and it’s fascinating that Kevin Glasgow, a young Scot, should have dedicated himself to such a old genre), with a tonality one would associate with Allan Holdsworth and the like, that’s not awash with guitar solos. The first one only appears later in track two. Up to then it’s largely cleanly voiced chordal melody with any single-line improv coming from the virtuoso Glasgow.
Much more of Holdsworth appears in track three, in which guitarist David Preston adopts a thick, sustaining distorted tone. Few have approached Holdsworth’s groundbreaking virtuosity but this isn’t far off (and more and more guitarists latterly have arrived at that kind of fluidity). It’s heartening in the age of often bland indie-rock inspired jazz composition to find young players not only embracing but delivering the high-level of musicianship that was a natural objective in the 1970s and 80s.
Peace and reflection appropriately follow the maelstrom of “Something about Rainbows” in the short, melodic, largely rubato reverie of “May”, its spartan yet lush harmonies beautiful paced and voiced. Having said indie rock was eschewed, “Truex” begins with one of those delay-washed arpeggiated motifs that characterise such music. It’s one of the most worrying tracks here but happily it evolves into something more substantial, fleshed out by a rocking, occasionally chromatic guitar solo and fleet-fingered fills from Glasgow’s q-tron bass.
Preston notes that this second album from the trio explores “increasingly delicate and conceptually open expressions” (as opposed to the “metal-rock” feel of their first album), and that’s clear throughout. That refinement is combined in Glasgow’s closing track with the serialism of Hans Werner Henze, who has apparently come to inspire the bassist’s harmony. The result is a distillation of the rarefied, otherworldly atmosphere which characterises the album. Full marks to a trio that’s doing sterling work in upholding endangered musical values.
Fumes; Beat 5; Something about Rainbows; May; Truex; 3D Weirdos; HWH (41.13)
David Preston (elg); Kevin Glasgow (elb); Laurie Lowe (d). Concrete Jungle, London, 3, 4, 10 September 2017.