Steve Banks: Emboldened

Metheny-flavoured English guitarist creates generally optimistic, lyrical mood with a quintet including tenor saxophone and piano


The first four tracks on this CD comprise guitarist Banks’ Emboldened Suite. It ranges from the meandering theme of Fear – graced by interweaving lines from the leader and saxophonist Sam Crockatt – to the bouncy rhythmic patterns of Unity (Main Theme), which presents a collectively strong, driving performance.

Banks to a degree comes from what might be termed the Pat Metheny school, with the music, all penned by himself, conveying the optimistic air associated with that modern guitar stylist. His fellow musicians totally complement his highly lyrical approach.

Sam Crockatt is a strong, no-nonsense tenor player, who performs some nice unison lines with his leader when it comes to the themes; elsewhere his lines are a model of coherence. The dexterous bass and drums gel beautifully with the front line, and pianist Rebecca Nash supplies appropriate fills and rounded solos.

This is thoroughly enjoyable group music, coming to its conclusion in a mood change as the guitarist dips into country territory (not so far from Metheny’s inspirations) for the slower pace of Always For You And Forever Yours, hushed along by drummer Whitlam on brushes.

Fear; Belief; Unity (Prologue); Unity (Main Theme); Two Brothers; Just Listen; Always For You And Forever Yours (46.56)
Banks (elg); Sam Crockatt (ts); Rebecca Nash (p); Henrik Jensen (b); Mark Whitlam (d). Birmingham, 2023.
Stoney Lane Records SLR1981