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CD REVIEW - GRATEFUL HANDS
David Williams, guitar
Graham Dent, piano,
Jazz Vibes, Summer 2011
This recording reproduces the music of two highly respected UK jazz musicians, both of whom can be frequently heard in the Midlands. Graham Dent, in particular, is a regular performer in Northamptonshire.
Grateful Hands, the title of the CD, represent the hands of the musicians but it is the listener who should also be grateful that they are capable of offering such high quality jazz. On several occasions, there is an uncanny resemblance to that great partnership of Pat Metheny and Brad Meldhau playing guitar and piano respectively on their CD, Metheny Meldhau, for Nonesuch Records in 2006.
Elsewhere on this site is published a recent interview with Graham Dent in which he champions the ‘treasured standards’, songs often considered unfashionable by modern jazz players. This album of 11 numbers comprises no less than seven standards, On a Clear Day, Stella by Starlight, Night and Day, My Funny Valentine, are four; and three original compositions by Graham Dent.
In his liner notes, Graham Dent talks of being highly impressed with David Williams “that such a young guy, fresh out of university with a first class music degree could have acquired such a mature approach to his playing in so few years.” His playing surely reveals a prodigious talent.
Certainly, the understanding and natural interplay between the two is characteristic of the consummate skill of each artiste. Both display highly developed mastery in improvising at a sophisticated level without ever losing the listener through excessive complexity. While requiring the listener to listen to (as opposed to simply hear) the music, it is nevertheless engaging and is a classic example of the type of jazz that deserves a wide audience.
The fresh treatment of the standards, together with the exciting ideas in some of the original compositions - Curious Terrain (also the title number of the latest CD by Graham Dent’s Jucamaya - www.jucamaya.com ) is an excellent case in point - are the recording’s crowning achievements.
Graham Dent says that “focussing on this album has been a real joy for both of us.” Listening to this recording, it is easy to understand why.