27 March 2003

Core Jazz Values

Ed Jones, Seven Moments. ASC/EJQ 2002.

By Chris Parker

Having played with both Incognito and US3, saxophonist Ed Jones is no stranger to jazz-related popularity, but his latest release, Seven Moments, showcases his adherence to the core jazz values: improvisational imagination, spontaneous group interaction and propulsive power or swing.

It also highlights his growing powers as a composer and bandleader: he wrote five of the seven pieces, and his band — pianist Jonathan Gee, Finnish trumpeter Mika Mylläri, bassist Geoff Gascoyne and drummer Winston Clifford — is discernibly affected by Jones's dynamism and ebullient swagger as it negotiates his themes, which range from brisk hard-bop flagwavers, through free/straightahead jazz alloys, to the odd dreamy ballad.

Mylläri's two compositions, a little tricksier than Jones's but none the less cogent, also allow the band's superb soloists — the sinewy, passionate, inexhaustibly fertile Jones and the surefooted, pure-toned Mylläri chief among them — to shine, so that the album as a whole is both hard-swinging and delicate, a great taster for their dynamic, occasionally downright volcanic, live sound.

Chris Parker is a well-known British jazz critic.

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