JJ 02/71: Michael Garrick – The Heart Is A Lotus

Fifty years ago Michael Shera felt that the excellent musicians in Garrick's band could not overcome the doomy, brooding material. First published in Jazz Journal February 1971


Michael Garrick, one of the favoured sons of British jazz, as far as recording is con­cerned, has produced an album by his sextet in which the voice of Norma Winstone is used as an integral part of the ensemble. The latter has already demonstrated her ability in this respect on the excellent Joe Harriott-Amancio d’Silva album Hum Dono.

Miss Winstone has good pitching and control, with a full sound, and surmounts a series of diffi­cult parts with impressive ease. The remainder of the sextet (with its varying personnel) acquit themselves as well as one has come to expect from men such as Rendell, Carr and Green.

And yet I cannot in all honesty report that this is a very enjoyable album. Most of the pieces are doomy, brooding things which become rather oppressive over two sides of an LP. None of them is especially strong melodically, and the excellence of the musicians cannot overcome these problems.

The Heart Is A Lotus; Song By The Sea; Torrent; Temple Dancer (27 min) – Blues On Blues; Voices; Beautiful Thing; Rustat’s Grave Song (24 min)
(collective personnel) Ian Carr (tpt); Art Themen (f/sop/clt/ten); Don Rendell (ten/f/sop); Michael Garrick (p/harpsichord/comp/arr); Coleridge Goode or Dave Green (bs); Trevor Tompkins (dm); Norma Winstone (voice). Decca Studios, Hampstead. London, 20 & 22/1/70.
(Argo 135 £1.99)