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New View

Chris Laurence Quartet


audio CD

also feat.
Chris Laurence, Frank Ricotti, John Parricelli, Martin France, Norma Winstone
Basho Records
Catalogue no.


Jack Massarik, Evening Standard

It's unusual to find an instrumental star waiting until middle age to release an album under his own name, but that's jazz for you - the art-form where fame can be even more elusive than respect.

Chris Laurence was winning double-bass polls long before stars like Jamie Cullum were born, yet his recording debut as a bandleader came only this week, decades into an illustrious career that has included studio albums with Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Sting and Paul McCartney.

New View (Basho Records) is his maiden album, and while the novelty aspect is only nominal, the music is top-class in every other respect.

Sophisticated improvisation and technical excellence were the norm last night when his all-star quartet tested the rarefied acoustics of this off-Baker Street church.

John Parricelli, a guitarist of rare taste and fluency, was the star turn, but vibraphonist Frank Ricotti found it harder to cut through the swirling supersonics. Often his agile four-mallet solo work blurred into one woollen chord.

Chris, seated on a tall stool, leaned over the shoulder of the bass, with his short-sleeved T-shirt liberating the bulging forearms of a lifetime double-bass toiler.

His programme featured pieces by US bassist Steve Swallow, Kenny Wheeler, saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and members of the group. All were relaxed and deceptively simple themes based on complex chord changes - music stronger on harmonic ingenuity than rhythmic ferocity.

Martin France's drums listened rather than led, but the group's collective heat was marginally too hot to be labelled chamber-jazz.

Ivan Hewitt, The Telegraph

Veteran classical and jazz bass player Chris Laurence leads his own group for the first time on this album, which also features vibraphonist Frank Ricotti, drummer Martin France and guitarist John Paricelli, with the peerless Norman Winstone appearing as a guest on two tracks.

The sound has a great refinement, propelled gently along by Martin France, its smooth surface flecked by Parricelli's sly guitar licks. But it's a relief when the prevailing coolness is broken by Winstone's moving version of Joni Mitchell's Last Chance Lost.


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