John Hackett — Velvet Afternoon
(Hacktrax HTRX001, 2006, CD)
John Hackett — Checking out of London
(Hacktrax HTRX002, 2005, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01
John Hackett has long been in the extended shadow of his brother Steve, who has seen high profile both in and out of Genesis. The flautist has finally stepped out on his own in both duet and full band configurations. Velvet Afternoon is a collection of the most romantic interludes from TV themes between flute and acoustic piano accompaniment. The fifteen songs range from pretty relaxing tones (“Vergebung”) to more pensive melodies as heard on “Freefall,” which recalls Thijs van Leer’s ballads with Focus. Some of the briefer pieces carry heavy emotive weight to them despite the brisk interplay between the flautist and pianist Sally Goodworth. Although the composer details a time differential between older and newer pieces, the tracks are appropriately sequenced such that it becomes irrelevant on playback. “Sausage Boy” is my pick for the most endearing piece due to the personal subject matter and the simple folk-based melody that could bring a parent to tears recalling their children’s early years. “Oily Rag” is the lightest fare in the set that shows the duet knows how to mix it up bit. The tone gets a bit sleepy toward the end until the sorrowful “Next Time Around.” The title piece closes out the disc on another precious melancholy note. Overall the disc carries a consistently singular beauty of such as brother Steve’s “Kim” and the more recent classical tinged collaboration performing the works of Satie.
Checking out of London is John Hackett’s first full band recording and the debut of a songwriting partnership with lyricist Nick Clabburn. Enlisting the talents of Nick Magnus from the old Steve Hackett band really seals the deal with me as his keyboard playing fits the songwriting style of the composers. Steve is very prominent on several tracks playing a distinctive harmonica solo on “The Hallway and the Pram”. He also contributes a trademark whiny but quiet lead guitar lead on the opening cut, “Late Trains” that kicks of the CD on an up note. The songwriting does have a slant toward neo-prog but less heavy handed and not at all derivative. “DNA” is a perhaps the best ballad comparable to many of the Hackett band pieces from the past; it highlights a subtle rhythmic section. The piece that reminds me most of Genesis is “Whispers” which sports Tony Patterson’s lead vocal that easily maps to the subject matter. Overall the disc deserves a bit of live performance to really see what damage a live incarnation of the line-up could deliver.
Related artist(s): John Hackett
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Alfredo Tisocco - Kátharsis, Ritagli d'Anima & Ballet Collection – Alfredo Tisocco's solo career apart from Opus Avantra, began in 1975 with the release of Kátharsis (originally released as Artis ARCD 005), a lengthy piece for modern dance, generally more... (1995) » Read more