NEW ALBUM FROM CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ARTIST
Composer and pianist Simon Deeley recently released his fourth album String Rise Azure Traces. As with his earlier releases, the seven tracks of this album are all original compositions by Deeley. Here, again, he displays his favourite writing styles, including blues-strong-jazz-fusion and mood-setting-film style writing plus an infusion of Latin jazz.
Deeley, who in earlier times was a stalwart of the ‘Midlands Jazz Scene’, now lives and works in the Welsh Borders. Focusing mainly on composing since his move to Wales, his creative thoughts have been much influenced by the beauty and atmosphere of the ‘border country’ which he feels is an inspiration for his writing.
Joining the composer on piano are three Cardiff-based players who are frequent and highly respected performers on the Welsh jazz scene: James Kilby Chadwick on guitar, Aidan Thorne on electric bass, and Mark O’Connor on drums, with their input resulting in the distinctive sonic colour and character of the recording.
Deeley’s decision to have James Chadwick in the lead guitar chair was because of his individual style and approach which added a compelling style and flavour to the album. He says, “It was, for me, a great positive and memorable experience creating the album with these three fine and distinctive players.”
An infusion of Latin flavour threads through the album, with the Samba groove of ‘So, Fly Azure Acrobat’ and the gentle Latin of ‘Song to the Condor’, to the hint of Spanish music in ‘On Echoes Andalucia’. Other tracks demonstrate the composer’s other writing styles: blues-infused-jazz-fusion and atmospheric film style. As he says, “I have always been moved by the expressive, lyrical guitar genre, where a powerful melody is played against the backing of the band. This is the central element of the opening track ‘Theme of the Legends’.” His more cinematic style can be heard in ‘Midnight Song’ and ‘Aurora’s Dream Waltz’, the former with its emotionally charged late-night mood and the latter creating a dreamy atmosphere depicting, perhaps, a widescreen scene of a dancer tracing shapes across the backdrop of an Aurora Borealis sky.
This varied album, by turns strong and forward-driving, then reflective and evocative is, absolutely, a creative feast, uplifting, and quite simply, a 56 minute journey to savour.
The CD of String Rise Azure Traces can be purchased from Trevor Davies Music, Leominster (tel: 01568-613611), also from simondeeleymusic.com, for the special price of £6.50 (to 31st July).
By Howard Smith