Daniel Casimir: Boxed In

Imaginative arrangement prevents former Clark Tracey bassist's jazz and strings debut turning into easy listening

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Since bassist Daniel Casimir burst upon the scene with Clark Tracey’s band some years ago, he has established himself as a sought-after player and this impressive debut album includes some of those he has collaborated with: a core quintet with Nubya Garcia, James Copus, Moses Boyd and Al MacSween, with strings and horns added to build an orchestral sound.

Unlike many “and strings” recordings, which can drift into MOR/easy listening, this has more of a sense of urgency, with an imaginative use of supporting strings and brass. Some of it has a feel of a film soundtrack, using repeated rhythmic patterns, often with a blues tinge, and Safe Parts 1, 2 and 3 seem to form a core around which the other tracks are interspersed. Parts 1 and 3 are uptempo whilst the slower Part 2 brings to mind Harry South’s incidental music for The Sweeney.

There are strong solos from tenor saxophonist Garcia and trumpeter Copus, who come to the fore on several tracks, the supporting instruments following their lead. They play the basic anthemic statement on Into The Truth, MacSween’s piano bubbling underneath, before it segues into The Truth and gives the pianist more opportunity to stretch out.

MacSween also solos on Safe (Part 2), which has an extended feature for the leader, his bass given greater emphasis when just drums and piano accompany. Your Side has an introduction by Casimir, the theme stated by strings and muted trumpet then pared down with drummer Moses Boyd changing its direction, Garcia following. Outro is more overtly led by Casimir, his sonorous tone highlighted with a backdrop of trumpet, tenor and full orchestration.

The three tracks with Ria Moran’s breathy vocals take the music into the area of contemporary pop and although this varies the repertoire, I found it an unnecessary distraction with its stylised “smooth jazz” approach. However, Rewind The Time starts promisingly with an effective vocals/bass interaction although disappointingly all too brief.

Discography
Safe (Part 1); Boxed In; New Waters; Your Side; Safe (Part 2); Get Even; Safe (Part 3); Into The Truth; The Truth; Rewind The Time; Outro (65.37)
Casimir (b) with Moses Boyd (d); Al MacSween (p); Nubya Garcia (ts); James Copus, Sean Gibbs, Andy Davies (t); Tom Dunnet, Rosie Turton (tb); Faye MacCalman, Samuel Rapley (cl); Gareth Lockrane (f); Rebekah Reid, Rhiannon Dimond (vn); Julia Dos Reis (vla); Miranda Lewis (clo); Ria Moran (v). London, date not given.
Jazz Re:freshed JRF0023