Trish Clowes and Ross Stanley: Journey To Where

British saxophonist and pianist duet on originals, improvisations and arrangements dedicated to Wayne Shorter and John Taylor

190

Wigmore Hall, the central London recital room, has world-famous acoustics and hosts around 500 concerts every year. In July 2021 it served as the studio for this duo recording. The nine-track album features four originals and five arrangements of songs with special significance for its pair of protagonists. It’s an eclectic record with contemporary jazz and classical pieces alongside folk tunes and Latin moods.

Avoidance, for example, is a Stanley original that mixes hues from various palettes. There’s an optimistic sentiment that reflects the melting pandemic-related restrictions around the time of recording. Clowes’ sound is characterised by warm-honey low tones and pop-music-like high notes. She pours bucketloads of both onto her microphone.

Clowes contributes a Wayne Shorter tribute, Decently Ripped, which meanders around a range of harmonic clusters and rhythmic ideas. Her partner pays a bit of homage too. Gloucester Service by Herbert Howells was a Ross favourite during his time as an organ scholar at Marlborough College boarding school, which costs £15,665 per term (VAT-free) for less keyboard-capable kids.

The most interesting track is called Sarah. It’s another tribute, this time honouring the vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert, who played a key role in developing the Coronavirus vaccine. Fluttery multiphonics from the saxophone lead to a tentative written section before an extended passage of improvisation.

Journey To Where sends an unusually wide variety of rhythms and ideas bouncing around Wigmore Hall’s world-famous interior. Clowes and Stanley investigate compositions that carry deep significance for them in a concert venue without an audience. At times, it’s an album with a practice-room feeling that reminds that lockdown wasn’t long gone.

Discography
Ashford Days; Decently Ripped; Tres Palabras; Avoidance; Prelude To A Kiss; Trois Preludes Et Fugues, Op. 7 No. 3, Prelude In G Minor; Sarah; Gloucester Service; The Month Of January (57.29)
Clowes (ts); Stanley (p). London, July 2021.
Stoney Lane Records SLR1989