Tomorrow’s New Quartet: All Together, Now!

Young British quartet, led by drummer Rod Oughton and featuring Flo Moore, gets an upbeat result from a set of originals

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All Together, Now (not The Beatles’ song) was born out of the privations of lockdown. Led by drummer Rod Oughton, the quartet rehearsed at irregular intervals in his north-west London flat (social distancing permitting) during the latter half of 2020. One tune, Eulogy, is even dedicated to his neighbour who passed away from Covid in December that year.

According to Oughton, the band’s name reflected “the optimism that composing this music and arranging the recording of this album gave me”. Unquestionably there is a palpable sense of joy about the album, no doubt derived in part by the youthful energy mustered by the quartet.

The staccato opening of the boppy title track – replete with a section of fours – belies the ingenuity of the succeeding eight numbers. By the second track, Gemstones, the quartet has found its feet, the angular melody ceding to a Latinesque vibe wholly propelled by Flo Moore’s electric bass and Oughton’s crackling drums. Moore takes the lead on Waltz For Last Year which reveals her to be a spectacularly articulate bassist. This is further confirmed by the short finale Outro (Flo Lays It Down).

But the quartet is fully laden with talent. Pianist Deschanel Gordon was the jazz winner in 2020’s BBC Young Musician competition. A first-class honours graduate of the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama, Scottish saxophonist Helen Kay is also a prize winner. In 2015 she won the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, and the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award (2017) which she used to record and release her debut album Moon Palace (Ubuntu Music, 2018). Oughton, who has worked with many big names in British jazz including NYJO, the James Taylor Quartet and Huw Warren, deserves credit not merely for his fine compositions but for assembling a quartet exuding genuine vibrancy and freshness.

Discography
All Together, Now!; Jemstones; The 40th Day; Waltz For Last Year; Angelou; Eulogy; Three High; The Journey To Your Door; Outro (Flo Lays It Down) (44.04)
Helena Kay (ts); Deschanel Gordon (p); Flo Moore (elb); Rod Oughton (d). Ramsgate, 27-28 May, 2021.
Ubuntu Music UBU0110