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Songs of the year: 2009
Steve Waterman, trumpet and flugelhorn, Steve Lodder, piano and keyboards, and Ben Crosland, bass.
This album is simple, accessible jazz in its purest form - cool laid-back and exuding flowing, melodic patterns. The artistes are so obviously at ease with both the music and each other, and so clearly enjoy the freedom of creativity that their relationship engenders. All three have been major players on the UK jazz scene for many years.
Steve Waterman is Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music and has several CDs to his name, having performed with Andy Sheppard, Tony Coe, Don Weller, Mike Garrick and also has a variety of compositions to his name.
Ben Crosland turned to the electric bass in the early 1980s and has performed with Art Themen, Henry Lowther, Alan Skidmore, Dick Morrissey and Bobby Wellins and was responsible for forming Threeway in 2004.
Steve Lodder has been a major player on the UK jazz scene for many years, having performed with Andy Sheppard, Carla Bley and John Etheridge.
The theme of the album is a musical reflection of the different seasons of the year. The absence of percussion heightens the sensitivity of the performance. It is unusual to come away with one of more theme tunes on the brain immediately after the first hearing but this occurred to me, so accessible is the music.
It was refreshing to hear the sound of the organ again from Steve Lodder’s keyboard on Lazy Heat - an often neglected instrument in much of today’s jazz.
If I had to pick a favourite track, it would be Renewal, simply because it is so gentle and calming. But the other tracks have a similar appeal which is generated from the harmonic and melodic interplay of the group.
This is the type of album I would offer to a newcomer to the world of modern jazz, not just because it is accessible and understandable, but because the improvisation and the flow of ideas between each member of the group is a perfect example of jazz of the very highest quality.