thu 01/10/2020

CD: MALIJA - The Day I Had Everything | reviews, news & interviews

CD: MALIJA - The Day I Had Everything

CD: MALIJA - The Day I Had Everything

All-star trio delivers meticulously crafted performances of new material

A cliché-free collection: MALIJA

With a moto perpetuo of looping accompanying figures in piano and bass underpinning a memorably angular melody in the sax, the opening track of The Day I Had Everything, ”Squared”, announces both a cliché-free collection and a work of trenchant individuality.

With a moto perpetuo of looping accompanying figures in piano and bass underpinning a memorably angular melody in the sax, the opening track of The Day I Had Everything, ”Squared”, announces both a cliché-free collection and a work of trenchant individuality.

Presenting 11 new pieces written by sax player and bass clarinettist Mark Lockheart (Polar Bear/Loose Tubes), pianist Liam Noble (Pigfoot, Sleepthief) and bassist Jasper Høiby (Phronesis), the album sees the trio developing a musical collaboration which began in 2009 when they first convened on Lockheart’s quintet album In Deep.

Penned by Noble, "Mr Wrack" features one of the album’s most surprising jump cuts, with the music switching from metrical ambiguity to a pounding 4/4 groove first heard in the piano, which is soon doubled by the strings of the Ligeti Quartet – Mandhira de Saram and Patrick Dawkins (violins), Richard Jones (viola), Val Welbanks (cello) – before the material splinters off into a raucous free-for-all.

Constructed over one of Høiby’s typically propulsive bass ostinatos, “Unknown” elicits one of several impressive solos from Lockheart on soprano (also doubling Høiby’s riff here on bass clarinet). Paying homage to two piano players held in especially high regard by Lockheart and Noble – Duke Ellington and Earl Hines – following an expansive, free time introduction, Lockheart’s “The Pianist” settles into a deep groove led by Noble’s thunderous left hand.

Other highlights include the understated, sotto voce title track, the playful “Almost a Tango”, and the ethereally beautiful “Blues”. The collection comes to a luminous close with the aptly titled “With One Voice”, a touching chorale which once again is graced by the soulful playing of the Ligeti Quartet. The outstanding recorded sound serves to complement the meticulously crafted performances.

Overleaf: watch a film of “Squared” from The Day I Had Everything

@MrPeterQuinn


Penned by Noble, 'Mr Wrack' features one of the album’s most surprising jump cuts, with the music switching from metrical ambiguity to a pounding 4/4 groove

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