Gems of 2008 – Curios, Closer

I’ve just been listening again  to the Curios album Closer released in the second half of 2008. My impressions remain the same – what a gem of an album. From the first gently stroked chords, through numerous changes of pace and mood there’s a quiet elegance and lyricism to the music that leaves me feeling uplifted very time I listen.  closer2It wasn’t quite what I’d expected. Perhaps I was a little too influenced by remembering Tom Cawley with Acoustic Ladyland, but I was also aware that he’s not afraid to deploy his prodigious technique when the occasion demands. There’s nothing flashy about this album however. I’ve not seen this band live, missing the opportunity when they swept through this area earlier in the year, but I’ll be seeking them out when I get the chance. Having checked a few reviews, I see people have used Brad Mehldau and Bad Plus as reference points. The opener ‘Little sharks and baby dophins’ did put me immediately in mind of the opener on Mehldau’s Art of the Trio Volume 3 and there are passages of strident rythmic chords a la Bad PLus but I don’t think that does it justice. There’s a really strong sense of melody and flow whether over a groove, an odd ostinato figure or more free playing. Cracking stuff!

I find myself becoming increasingly random in who I’m aware of playing jazz and related music these days. There seem to be so many fantastic players on the British scene let alone internationally. Maybe I should start a ‘you really should have listened to….’ category and hope a few recomendations get added… I feel another post coming on! I shouldn’t have been surprised by Curios mind you – they did win a BBC3 jazz award this year.

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