Kit Downes – Light from Old Stars (2013)
Kit Downes is another to add to the list of exciting talent in British jazz. In fact, the pianist has already been reviewed in a previous blog entry with his band Troyka.
I was first introduced to Downes via his role in Troyka, but his work as bandleader of a quintet was brought to my attention during a rare occurrence of me listening to Jamie Cullum’s BBC Radio 2 Jazz programme. I’m not a big fan of Cullum’s radio show, but he does play some good tracks now and again. I’m not entirely sure what track he played, but it piqued my interest and when the new album came out, I was eager to listen to it.
So, here it is, and it is near faultless; an absolutely stunning modern jazz record.
Bleydays is a fantastic free/bop track, absolutely classic sounding, with a catchy head leading to wonderfully free forms in honour of pianist Paul Bleys. Blues play a major influenced, evidenced in the fantastic and noir-esque Outlawed, simple in it’s outlook, but inventive and full of life. Two Ones and Owls are along the more experimental end of things, the former beginning with atonal cello in an Eastern Europe droning folk melody, before the bass comes in to tidy things up ready to launch into a more third stream style piano, while the latter is a whirling merry-go-round, bookending a dark free cello solo.
If someone were to ask me for an example of great modern jazz, this would be among the albums I would recommend. Perfect, a great album.
Favourite tracks: Bleydays, Outlawed, Owls
Spotify link: Kit Downes – Light From Old Stars