Advertisement
Advertisement

Phoenician Blinds: The Sight, The Seer And The Seen

In brief:
"Phoenician Blinds are becoming a mainstay of the current scene, their music a winning combination of modern jazz, hard-hitting grooves and exploratory cinematic compositions ... Unfortunately, they often try to say too much"

The London-based, internationally constructed Phoenician Blinds are steadily becoming a mainstay of the current jazz scene, their music a winning combination of modern jazz performance, hard-hitting grooves and exploratory cinematic compositions.

Their melodies are all strong and punchy, often featuring unexpected hooks and abrupt endings, led from the front by saxophonist Julian Knapp from Germany forming a strong partnership with pianist Tom Sochas from France.

Advertisement

The keening saxophone is well supported by the pianist’s more melodic piano. Everything is anchored nicely by Italian drummer Filippo Giangrande, in sync with the only Brit, bassist Oli Cross.

So far, so good, for this is a busy quartet with a lot to say. Unfortunately, they often try to say too much. The simple jazz-funk of Pineapple, for example, soon turns unnecessarily complex, while Knapp’s sometimes overwrought contributions can bring a piece to a sudden halt midway, as on the opening Bodana Bazi and again on Burn It Down, although he redeems himself on his perfectly paced slow solo on Shape Of Things To Come.

It is as if in trying to prove themselves the group loses its focus and overcomplicates each song, notably on the stop-start shuffle of Rush Hour – but perhaps that is intentional! – and on the slow, soulful burn of Rhododendron, which is suddenly upturned by Sochas’s misplaced honky-tonk piano solo.

Perhaps I am just saying that there is too much to listen to here in barely half an hour, a problem which inevitably disappears when this music is performed live.

Hear/buy Phoenician Blinds: The Sight, The Seer And The Seen at phoenicianblinds.bandcamp.com

Discography
Bodana Bazi; One Step Away; Pineapple; Hipperlude Pt 1; Rush Hour; Rhododendron; Burn It Down; Hipperlude Pt 2; Ballad For Chap; Shape Of Things To Come (38.52)
Tom Sochas (p, elp, syn); Julian Knapp (ts, ss); Oli Cross (elb); Filippo Giangrande (d, pc). London, c. 2019.
624453 Records DK

Latest audio reviews

Advertisement

More from this author

Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement

Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band: Message From Groove And GW

Any organ and big band release is inevitably going to be compared to Jimmy Smith’s marvellous Verve recordings with Oliver Nelson back in the...
Advertisement

Obituary: Don Burrows

Doyen of Australian jazz, Donald (Don) Vernon Burrows, had been at the forefront of Australian jazz for over six decades. He was an excellent...
Advertisement

Art Blakey, Manchester, 1961: a sleeve-note

British modern jazz fans had been waiting for years to hear Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the flesh. Finally, when Art brought his group...
Advertisement

MilesStyle: The Fashion Of Miles Davis

When asked whether Miles was always a sharp-dresser, even when he started out in the 1940s, his life-long friend Quincy Jones replied: “Yeah, everyone...
Advertisement

Bullets and Ballads: Pete Kelly’s Blues

When film music historians discuss the increasing influence of jazz on movie soundtracks through the 1940s and into the 1950s, they usually mention films...
Advertisement

JJ 05/69: Alice Coltrane – A Monastic Trio

If, as the sleeve suggests, this album was intended as a musical epitaph to the late John Coltrane, it does him less than justice. Side...