CD: Hometime, Kevin Figes Quartet

This varied set of  compositions from the Bristol based saxophonist Kevin Figes’ Quartet, takes us on an engaging journey through the leader’s stylistic points of reference. Over the last few years Kevin has toured with Keith Tippett, been the front line anchor for various swinging hard bop flavoured bands and co-led and contributed to any number of brazilian influenced and latin bands. The selections on Hometime seems to bring all these interests together and give a superb band a platform for some great playing. The opener Little Miles has a groovy shuffling feel to it with a bluesy air and a playfulness with the metre that gives it an extra lilt.  Pianist Jim Blomfield unleashes a trade mark pyrotechnic solo full of tumultous rippling patterns, counterposing rhythms and percussive two handed passages. Pigs has a much more open swinging feel. A series of hooting phrases from the sax precede open improvised episodes from piano and sax. Figes’ soloing here and the interplay with Tim Giles on drums and Riaan Vosloo is one of the stand out moments of the whole set. The elegaic, ballad Home Time played  freely and full of emotion throughout is followed by the Brazilian flavoured Lounge Life. The mix of style and feel continues but the connecting thread of the fluid and melodic lines that the saxophone finds through each tune give the sound a very distinctive personal stamp and its one imbued with the sound of bop based jazz. The rhythm section of Vosloo and Giles are sensational, never obtrusive but giving everything a sense of urgency and drama and always nudging and playing off the soloists. This is a fine album and as the baritone makes a suitably growling appearance for the hammond organ accompanied blues See you Later on the final track we can only say ‘yes, lets hope so!’ You can get a copy here



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