BURUM – Alawon


Over the years I’ve come across loads of different curiosities concealed into thousands of records but, to the best of my memory, this is the first time that I meet a band rearranging traditional Welsh tunes to a jazz format (the title means in fact “folk songs” in the local language). And they’re pretty good at that, too. Burum are Tomos Williams (trumpet, flugelhorn), Daniel Williams (tenor sax), Dave Jones (piano), Chris O’Connor (bass), Mark O’Connor (drums) with Ceri Rhys Matthews (Welsh horn pipes) as a guest in three selections. Folk or not, the album’s best quality for this reviewer is its wonderful nostalgic patina, which is the main hue in tracks like “Ar lan y môr”, a melancholic slow piece where one almost imagines the musicians performing in a show from the 60s watched from an old black-and-white TV set, or in Daniel Williams’ moody thematic exposition of “Yr eneth glaf”. On the other hand, the title track’s four movements alternate Matthews’ homesick pipes and Tyneresque progressions in a stimulating mix of idioms that sounds as fresh as a mint water-ice. Tomos Williams’ trumpet lines maintain a perennial comprehensibility, hinting to a delicate consciousness that’s typical of a sensitive jazzist, while Jones’ piano highlights a subtle kind of beauty through its heartfelt purity of intents. Although we’re not in presence of technical monstrosities, the whole group possess a brisk fire of sincerity transforming apparently meaningless segments in moments to be remembered. Let’s face it, mankind can’t be fed avantgarde all the time, and “Alawon” smells like a morning flower.


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