FAST COLOUR – Antwerp 1988

(Loose Torque)

Great stuff came out, on an August evening in 1988, by this septet including Pinise Saul (voice), Dudu Pukwana (alto and soprano saxes), Evan Parker (tenor sax), Harry Beckett (trumpet), Annie Whitehead (trombone, voice), Nick Stephens (double bass) and John Stevens (drums). Subtitled “Suite for Johnny Mbizo Dyani”, this concert is a mixture of invocations, African rhythms and chants and, in general, musical artistry of the finest class that leaves pretty dumbstruck for its intense spirituality. Great cohesion is to be found between Stevens and Stephens, truly the septet’s heart in their incessant four-legged run through the core of a primary instinct which animates the whole album. Parker and Pukwana foster a slender feeling of liberation via ceaseless reciprocities and invasions of forbidden territories, which they visit with nonchalant studiousness corroborated by a high degree of passion. Beckett’s trumpet is featured in a stubborn solo in “Johnny Dyani’s gone”, but he also performs beautifully as a team mate in literate decodings of certain aspects of free jazz. The lyrics are sung with ardent animosity by Whitehead and Saul, who inject their interventions with determination and fortitude in a square-shouldered effort to pay homage not only to their late friend, but seemingly to a whole current of artists whose fate was sealed before they could even have a chance to show their greatness to wider audiences. Thanks to this archival material, Loose Torque is affirming itself as one of the labels most enthusiastically interested in keeping an important slice of English jazz’s pie still preserved and palatable.


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