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CD REVIEW -
Jucamaya: Curious Terrain
Graham Dent (leader) - keyboards,
Ian Hill - tenor & soprano saxes,
Richard Baker - trombone,
Tom Bull - bass & bass guitar,
Tyrone Bishop - bass,
Steve Laffy/Nick Millward - Drums
Jazz Vibes 2009
Writing the sleeve notes in 1990 for an LP by a, then, not widely-recognised tenor saxophonist, Charlie Hearnshaw, jazz critic, Alun Morgan, made the point that accident of birth plays a great part in the subsequent career of a jazz musician. He claimed that the quality of his playing was such that had Charlie Hearnshaw been named Sonny Mclean or Hank Parker, he would probably have had a string of Blue Note albums to his name.
The same analogy can surely be drawn for Graham Dent whose group, Jucamaya, offers mainstream jazz of a consistently high standard throughout this recording. Graham Dent is a perceptive and insightful musician who deserves wider recognition beyond his mainly Midlands stamping ground. His interpretative skills on the keyboard and his prolific compositional skills are formidable.
All but three of these tracks are Dentís composition: the standard, Iíll Remember April, which is played with certain chord changes; Silverís Serenade, a tribute to Horace Silver; and My Song, a Keith Jarrett number.
The opening track, Reaching Beyond, is an up tempo number in which the group flexes its muscles for the eclectic collection of numbers to follow. On two of the tracks in particular, Dentís playing is worthy of close attention. On Last Tribute to Frank, he takes an exquisite keyboard solo, with right hand playing the upper register and left hand on the synthesiser; an equally tasteful offering can be heard on My Song.
The accompanists are worthy of Dent, Ian Hill has been gigging with him for several years on the Midlands jazz circuit and is a forthright, lyrical saxophonist with a distinctive sound that is worthy of wider recognition. Drummer, Steve Laffy, has authored two tutorial books and Tom Bull has accompanied Alan Barnes and the late Sir John Dankworth.
The numbers on this album range from funky mainstream jazz to sensitive and dreamy ballads (listen, for instance, to Gratitude). Dentís compositions are constructed for an easily accessible Ďlistení and represent all that is best in contemporary British jazz. The group is a coherent unit of excellent musicians who perform to the highest standards. If Jucamaya is appearing nearby, be sure to check it out.
Further information can be found at www.grahamdent.com