(SRCD 4-2) features
Noble on piano, a multi reed frontline with Stan
Sulzmann on tenor and soprano saxes and flute and Chris
Biscoe on alto and soprano sax and alto clarinet, Mick
Hutton on bass and Paul Clarvis on drums.
"It's hard to exaggerate just
how good this album is". Brian
Morton Jazz Review, April 2003
absorbing album". Jerry
and spiky thoughtfulness of Noble's piano-playing is often close to
Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill and occasionally Abdullah Ibrahim in
spirit rather than mimicry. But, although Noble's classy quintet kept
faith with his intentions, it was the harmonic intrigue of The Bathroom
Mirror, the twisting melody and Celtic echoes of Across the Park and
the Mike Gibbs-like horn harmonies of a closing almost-blues that
made Noble's wry, pungent writing the star.” John Fordham, The
Over 7:47 (sample)
2 Scam 6:48
3 Who Will Buy 6:50
4 Across the Park 6:19
5 Old Masters 6:34
6 Hello Boys 7:47
7 Waltz 7:06
Returns 3:38 (sample)
10 The Bathroom Mirror 7:08
11 Close Your Eyes 4:18
THIS ALBUM FOR JUST £12 ONLINE NOW
and soprano sax, flute
One of the UK`s most respected sax players, Stan is particularly known
for his long associations with Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor. Recently
he has led his big band, featuring the cream of Britain's jazz scene
in his original compositions.
and soprano sax; alto clarinet
An extremely versatile and accomplished reeds player, Biscoe
has performed, toured and recorded with George Russell, Andy Sheppard,
Henry Lowther, Pete Jacobsen, The Westbrook Trio, Grand Union, The
Blowpipes, Hermeto Pascoal, Orchestre National de Jazz & the New
York Composers Orchestra amongst others.
mick hutton -
playing is distinguished by superb intonation, great time and a highly
original approach. He has toured with Lee Konitz, Joe Henderson, and
just about every major British modern jazz player.
musician whose influence is beginning to be heard amongst younger
players, Paul is one of the UK's busiest musicians, equally at home
in the classical and world music fields as in jazz. Amazingly, he
still finds time to co-direct the record label
"Noble is one
of the younger UK pianists most likely to turn surprising corners.
A highly inventive and thoughtful musician, Noble graces any band
he joins, while his own music combines characterful composing with
fresh, risk-embracing improvisation.... Some wonderful, hooting, almost
country-blues music balances the busyness, and Sulzmann - superb on
tenor sax throughout - has rarely played better". John
Fordham, The Guardian 3* Feb 2003
"Collaboration of reeds players
Stan Sulzmann and Chris Biscoe, pianist Liam Noble, bassist Mick Hutton
and drummer Paul Clarvis proves that the spirit of free improvisation
is not dead, but has been merely sleeping. Noble's stunning charts
sit alongside an uplifting version of Lionel Bart's "Who Will
Buy?". Inspirational". Chrissie Murray, Ronnie Scott's
“Pianist Liam Noble has already
impressed through his work with such as Bobby Wellins, Christine Tobin
and Paul Clarvis and In the Meantime wholeheartedly confirms that
he’s a player to keep an eye on. Surrounded by a bunch of strong
if underrated personalities that include Clarvis as well as Stan Sulzmann
and Chris Biscoe, Noble has produced one of the best independent releases
that I’ve heard of late. An elegant player with an incisive
if at times understated style, Noble excels as a writer and arranger
on this set. The themes and orchestrations – capitalising wholeheartedly
on the fine playing of the ensemble of which Sulzmann and Biscoe stand
out – are affecting and occasionally rapturous affairs that
strike an all too rare balance between strong, strident forward drive
and graceful poise. Harmonic finesse and wily counterpoint are the
order of the day but perhaps what impresses the most is the idiomatic
range of the material that echoes of anything from Keith Jarrett and
early 70’s ECM to Wayne Shorter and very occasionally Thelonious
Monk. Yet what we end up with is nevertheless a very British sounding
album – something that would sit very well in the Babel catalogue.
And the severely reharmonised version of Lionel Bart’s ‘Who
Will Buy?’ is a delight, confirming Noble’s ability to
take a left turn all the while keeping on the straight and narrow.
All told In the Meantime is an articulate, accomplished affair from
a musician who is surely more than ready to step out of the shadows.”
Kevin Le Gendre , Jazzwise April 2003 4 *
"This is as close as any British composer
has come to the vivid unorthodoxy of New York's downtown scene. Heard
out of context, you'd think this was a recent outing by someone like
Wayne Horvitz. The only giveaway is that Hutton and Clavis refuse
to anchor the music in any rythmic certainty as an American section
certainly would and take it off to the very edges.
Noble is capable of quirkiness in one measure
and jaw-dropping beauty in the very next. He belongs to a long line
of English "eccentrics", which could include anyone from
Lord Berners to Lol Coxhill, who are not so much improvisers in the
conventional sense as instant composers, musicians who fire off ideas
according to no obvious structural philosophy but with absolute self-consistency.
It's hard to exaggerate just
how good this album is. Tracks like "The Bathroom Mirror"
stopped me short in precisely that place, blade dangerously poised,
while Noble and the group executed an astonishing harmonic walkabout.
"Close Your Eyes" finds them in more conventional jazz mode,
as is perhaps appropriate at the end of the record, a blues-tinged
structure that is ineffably beautiful and will (if Liam isn't very
disciplined) end up on someone's soundtrack one of these days. It
doesn't need images, and none of the tracks on In The Meantime needs
a programme or an explanation. Check out the superb "Across The
Park" and "Waltz" as contrasting examples of what this
group can do.
Stan Sulzmann is, as ever, inspirational, but
it's Chris Biscoe who catches the ear this time round, not least for
his unexpected double on alto clarinet, a warm-toned instrument with
an unexpected range and resonance. Joe Lovano is the only other player
I've heard recently who gives it the same emotional colouration. This
is a vintage British jazz record and the most compelling sign yet
that Liam Noble is going to be a composer to watch and listen to very
BRIAN MORTON (The Jazz Review,
“Excellent set by a UK pianist
who has not only made a mark as a quirky improvioser with Monkish
leanings and as a distinctive composer, but who has also enhanced
the work of many other local players. Shades of the Django Bates style
of thematic writing can be detected here and there in some engagingly
jumpy, unjazzlike melodies, and the dense, long-lined, dynamically
restrained manner of Greg Osby’s music is also touched on. But
a shining light of the whole attractive enterprise is the presence
of Stan Sulzmann, who seems to sound more personal and hauntingly
moving than ever. Lionel Bart’s ‘Who Will Buy?’,
sounding like a Wayne Shorter track, is an unexpected interloper in
the repertoire.” John Fordham JazzUK
"Pianist Liam Noble is one of the most distinctive voices in
British jazz, a pianist of spiky individuality and a composer whose
work consistently surprises.
Both virtues are on display here as Noble leads
a quintet through a programme of utterly distinctive music. It's edge
of the seat stuff, full of unexpected twists and turns, and yet everything
has a sense of rightness and logic that makes it immensely satisfying
to listen to.
The star of the session is that wonderful saxophonist
Stan Sulzmann, whose work on Waltz and the bluesy Hello Boys is wonderful.
Altoist and clarinettist Chris Biscoe isn't far behind on Who Will
Buy and The Bathroom Mirror, and the exchanges between the two saxophonists
Noble himself is on top form throughout,
and there is good support from bassist Mick Hutton and drummer Paul
Clarvis. Liam Noble is quietly establishing himself as a major voice".
Andrew Vine Yorkshire Post 4*
“Birmingham Conservatoire jazz piano tutor
Liam Noble was recently heard to great effect on saxophonist Julian
Siegel’s five-star album Close Up. In the leader’s chair
he takes a more adventurous path both as composer and in choice of
band members, going for the highly-individualistic sounds of saxophonists
Stan Sulzmann and Chris Biscoe, bassist Mick Hutton and drummer Paul
His writing sounds are strongly influenced by
the modern black American school started by pianists like Andrew Hill
and Muhal Richard Abrams and continued by the M-basers Steve Coleman
and greg Osby.
Noble’s style is more in the crispy category
than in the crunchy area occupied by Matthew Shipp and Jason Moran,
but like them he might feel the hand of Thelonious Monk upon his shoulder.
But he can wear his heart on his sleeve too.
He does some very clever things with Lionel
Bart’s Who Will Buy, setting up a trance-like piano figure for
the saxophones to play across, with complementary dry and dusty tones
from Sulzmann’s saxophone and Biscoe’s alto clarinet.
The band often straddles the line between form
and freedom, but they accomplish it all with aplomb. And Old Masters
is just lovely.
Good strong stuff.” Peter
Bacon, The Birmingham Post
Liam Noble studied
music at Oxford University, and after his postgraduate course at the
Guildhall, he became the pianist for Stan Sulzmann. Noble was recommended
by John Taylor, who had played with Sulzmann, who had played with
Kenny Wheeler, who had played with Taylor. Noble then went on to join
forces with Wheeler as well as with Lol Coxhill and John Stevens.
All of this should stand in testimony to his skills as a piano player.
That quality is underlined on this disc, which also strongly profiles
his ability as a composer.
As a composer,
Noble rows up different streams. He does this articulately and with
finesse. Helping him translate the music into an avid listening experience
is his band; they understand and they explore, bringing in several
moments of delight and surprise. It comes in the tangent, the slight
veer away from the line, the repeated motif or a shift in timbre,
and it all leads up to anticipation for more.
The band gives the listener the “Once Over” steeped in
the mainstream. Sulzmann lets his tenor define the mood and then squeezes
out some twisted lines. He is high on the bounce as well, setting
the tone and getting some nice support from Clarvis on the drums.
The panorama opens to envelop Biscoe and Noble, the former coiled,
the latter transparent and lighter. One good tune deserves another,
and as they go traipsing “Across the Park” they bring
in a rhythm that shifts, meter and pulse in flux until they all lock
in to form kaleidoscopic melodic patterns. The blues come in through
“The Bathroom Mirror,” beautifully structured and played
with beguiling warmth. And they don't forget to add a supple beat
are no diminishing returns here (except for that song title) which
quite simply means that this is an absorbing album.