Various Artists — Soupsongs Live: The Music of Robert Wyatt
(Jazzprint JPVP101CD, 2002, 2CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2001-12-01
The label has chosen to list this disc under “Various Artists” but that’s an inaccuracy. All the tracks are in fact by the same band: a rhythm section of Liam Genocky and Steve Lamb (drums and bass); Janette Mason on keyboards; Phil Manzanera on guitar; a horn section of Harry Beckett (trumpet), George Khan (saxophones), Didier Malherbe (various wind instruments), and Annie Whitehead (trombone); and vocalists Julie Tippetts and Ian Maidman. But enough nitpicking. However you bill it, this tribute to the songwriting of Robert Wyatt shows the strength of his songs. The band lends a jazzy touch to everything from the silly “The Duchess” to more serious political fare like “Alliance” courtesy of Whitehead’s arrangements. All the instrumentalists get in some great solos – Beckett’s workout in “Left on Man” is amazing – and the vocalists acquit themselves admirably. Maidman turns in a stunning rendition of “Last Will and Testament.” There are too many tasty moments to name them all, and in fact only one spot that makes me reach for the remote, and that’s the last few minutes of “Gharbzadegi,” where the warbling vocals just plain grate on the nerves for too long. But out of a two-disc set, that’s a pretty small drawback. And frankly, any lyricist who name-drops both Einstein and Chomsky is okay by me.
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more