Mark de Clive-Lowe & the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Take the Space Trane (2013)
Mark de Clive-Lowe is a producer/composer from New Zealand. Before today, I hadn’t heard of him, so I did little background listening and honestly, before this album, it isn’t really my thing: pop/R’n’B, high production values, but little of interest. However, here he teams up with the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra for a dip into some nu-jazz.
From the start, it is evident that there is some sort of anachronistic juxtaposition; the title alludes to both Duke Ellington’s Take the “A” Train and John “Trane” Coltrane, so when we start listening and hear funky breakbeats mixed with Bop horns, it is something we know that shouldn’t necessarily work. But work it does and this is treat!
The beats and bass are straight out of club-land and the horns are straight out of Birdland!
From upbeat opener Relax… Unwind, to the swing/breakbeat-combination Blues for Six, which seems to take Tuxedo Junction as it’s blueprint, through rhythm and blues freakout, Caravan, through the more electronic influenced Money – Don’t Let it Catch Ya, to the amazing closer, title track, Take the Space Trane, in which the electronics take more of a lead, this album is a tour de force.
So often with electronic fusion Jazz, the actual Jazz itself takes a back seat to the electronics and is dull, repetitive and tepid; too much nu- and not enough -jazz, if you know what i mean. On Take the Space Trane, this is not the case, the balance is perfect, the players are inspired. The electronics actually feel a proper part of the ensemble, they augment the Jazz rather than detract from it: a few breakbeats here and there, a sprinkling of synth and even a couple of subtle cheeky bassdrops/turntable slowdowns.
This is how nu-jazz should be. A fantastic album!
Favourite tracks: Relax… Unwind, Money – Don’t Let it Catch Ya, Take the Space Trane.
Spotify link: Mark de Clive-Lowe & the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra – Take the Space Trane