Five-Way Split: All The Way

Another lockdown straggler, a convincing reading of the hard-bop style featuring Quentin Collins, proves the confinement wasn't all bad


Five-Way split is a group formed during the lockdown period and if All The Way is one of the results of a blanket restriction then jazzers of a modern persuasion should say thank you very much, for the quintet have delivered a programme of mainly originals which should satisfy many who have a penchant for hard-bop and beyond.

From the opening hard-swinging Out Of Wayne’s Bag they set out their stall in a most impressive manner, revealing a tightly knit horns and rhythm configuration which is jointly led by Collins, Xenopoulos and Barron. They impress throughout as individuals saying something worthwhile.

They are also capable of springing a surprise as in the case of All The Way which is taken at a very sprightly tempo, rather than its normal slower pace and a resurrection of the ballad Theme For Ernie, written by the barely known guitarist Fred Lacey for the death of saxophonist Ernie Henry. The latter, of course, had an airing on the John Coltrane album Soultrane, issued originally in 1958.

Trumpeter Collins has been getting a good press for the 20+ years plus he has been in the business and deserves all the accolades he has received for his versatility, enabled by an impressive technique. Similarly, saxophonist Xenopoulos has also been feted by numerous writers impressed by his confident approach to the jazz art.

Singling out the horns in no way belittles the rhythm section, clearly at home in the milieu they have chosen and happy to act as an engine room firing on all cylinders. If Five-Way Split come your way in the near future, check them out.

(1) Out Of Wayne’s Bag; Lingua Franca; (2) Mr Birthday Blues; (1) All The Way; Asymphonatic; Evidently; Theme For Ernie; San Sebastian; Flattening The Curve (54.54)
(1) Quentin Collins (t); Vasilis Xenopoulos (ts); Rob Barron (p); Matyas Hofecker (b); Matt Home (d) London, 27 October 2021. (2) as (1) but Xenopoulos (ss).
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