This is Jones’s tenth jazz CD release under his own name but, like the rest of the band, he has been busy in other spheres. (How else does a jazz musician make a living?) Between them they have recorded and/or toured with outfits as diverse as Kasabian, Portishead and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as composing film scores, yet still finding time to “keep the faith” with a whole raft of fine jazz groups: e.g., Long is on the latest John Law album, the impressive Configuration, and Waghorn and Hague work together often as part of Hague’s excellent hard-bop quintet, where the leader plays first-rate trumpet. (I confess I didn’t know until now that Hague is also a very useful drummer.)
Dedication opens this EP with a short squall of sound but soon settles into an easy-going ballad-like piece. There are fine extended acoustic solos by Long and Jones before Waghorn’s more edgy soprano solo, which eventually resolves in a serene closing passage with the sax in the lower register. Waghorn switches to flute for the appealing Dai’s Bossa, with lissom solos by him and Jones and a dextrous yet unshowy contribution from Long. The electric instruments come in on No Parking! along with Waghorn’s tenor. (He is, incidentally, one of my favourite tenor players.) There’s a jazz-rock tinge to this, but not too much, and again Long’s flashing fingers avoid virtuosity taking over from good taste and musicality.
Dedication (Doctone); Dai’s Bossa; No Parking! (22.09)
Ben Waghorn (f, ss, ts); Dave Jones (p, elp, syn); Ashley John Long (b, elb); Andy Hague (d). Cardiff, 16 & 24 April, 2 May 2019.