Grand Union - Through The Green Fuse

[People Tree 2006]

What’s more of a challenge - to be given an album you enjoy to review or to be logical and constructive about something you are not that all too sure about? For most, music is good music to somebody, if only the creator of the music. Let’s therefore try to be constructive about an album I love, about a band that when playing live are exciting and maybe even about a band that shines above many in this year’s bombardment of quality releases as, dare I say it, the year end is neigh.

The jazz critic: ‘Morning Brings The Light’ comes at you like some unearthed Gilles Peterson discovery. Flute and vocals with amazing rhythm, with complex yet almost basic ideas associated with labels like MPS and Impulse. How have they managed to create this familiarity in today’s age of technology? Perhaps, no, simply the best piece of jazz for me this year.

A world music perspective: ‘I Remember My Life like A Story’ blasts you with Balkan violin madness, gypsy almost but somewhere before you reach Tango.and for ‘John Riley’ an invoking Irish love song only to clear the way for ‘One Bright Day’, a folk up-tempo groove with sparks of almost Senegalese undertones. Clever and enjoyable.

So why all the excitement? The band stepped on stage to the words “welcome to a night of folk music”.. And that is where the balance of the album sits you - smack in the middle of some outstanding jazz orientated folk. ‘Jane Jane’ is an impressive composition, so too ‘Wonderful World’, aired on the aforementioned Mr. Peterson’s Worldwide programme. Add to that the fact that our very own Sammy Goulbourn’s The Other Side show has featured several offerings from the album too should be a clear guide to its standing.

This studio album is a must and I implore the reader to see the band perform live for they are truly a strong part of our ever changing movement with all things jazz in this country.

Steve Williams is Editor of online jazz magazine UKVibe (