Apart from the wholly instrumental Endure each of the songs here has sprung from lyrics by poets Malika Booker (the first poet-in-residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company amongst other honours) or Rebecca Lynch, sometime writer-in-residence at King’s College London.
Beraha’s rich-toned voice is of course important, but she is very much part of the band, contributing to its sound as well as interpreting the words. From time to time, as at the end of the opening track which, unexpectedly given the title, is about ladybirds, she almost vanishes into the stratosphere.
In places the music frames the words, at other points it commentates on or develops freely from their mood or meaning. Elsewhere (on Erasure for example) Beraha sings wordlessly as part of the ensemble.
All the vocal pieces were honed during extensive tours, but for Endure Canniere brought a new piece into the studio and, in classic jazz fashion, the band recorded it in one take.
Throughout there are some fine instrumental solos, with Simpson particularly distinguishing himself, not least on One More Down, which sets Lynch’s poem about a missing person, whilst Canniere’s phrasing and tone on both horns are always a pleasure.
Hear/buy Andre Canniere: Ghost Days at Whirlwind Recordings
Suicides; Colours; Erasure; My Star; Arrival; One More Down; Endure (41.12)
Canniere (t, flh); Tori Freestone (ts); Rick Simpson (p, kyb); Tom Farmer (b); Andrew Bain (d); Brigitte Beraha (v). Gloucestershire, December 2018.