Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1095

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Review

Malcolm Strachan : About Time

Malcky 1

9

6.8

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UK release date 27.03.2020

Haggis Horn head honcho, trumpeter,Malcolm Strachan has delivered a veritable tour de force with this his first solo effort.
The compositional material,ensemble playing and repertoire is first class mixing deep latin inflections with modal jazz and coalesces into a satisfying whole.

Here is a carefully assembled unit that emits bursts of headlong energy that make you go wow! 'Mitchell's Landing' is positively fizzing with vitality, who doesn't like a baritone sax played at full tilt via the head and soloing? - bang on! Strachan is a generous bandleader to boot, he doesn't always take the first solo he's far too musically minded to let his ego get in the way but when they come,it's always a joyous affair.

'Just The Thought Of You' sees this scorching unit take it down a notch with this summery ballad adorned with virtuosic flugel and choice yet plaintive piano.A fantastic piece of writing that reminds me of Donald Byrd and The Blackbyrds. A touching chordal ballad, that resists going into a funky beat but remains light, airy and above all spacious,giving this fine piece of playing depth and gravitas - unfettered joy!

Conversely 'Time For A Change' centres round a compact driving beat and is essentially a one chord pedalling piece of soul jazz blessedness but when the change comes and the levee breaks, we are met by a fantastic bluesy piano solo,this is the good stuff ignited by,once again, a cutting and incisive head.

The achingly beautiful 'Aline' is a touch of class too, with its wistful maj/min chord sequence run down.A jewel of a tune played with abject tenderness.Suffice to say Strachan is at the height of his powers (as are his cohorts) he plays trumpet and flugel with devastatingly beautiful expression, impeccable technique and incomparable virtuosity and this exceptional album feels like a new lease of life for him and for us to savour.
Words Emrys Baird

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