Article XI

Live in Newcastle
Discus 89 CD

Should you be searching for a composition title which more inadequately describes the music you’re hearing than put on Live in Newcastle’s “Not the Kind of Jazz You Like”. A misnomer, the track swings and sways with double-gaited polyphony that would impress the most cynical or hidebound listener. This energy and elation is brought to all of this CD by this Manchester, UK-based 11-piece ensemble.

Following a pushing and pumping introduction “Not the Kind of Jazz You Like” maintains its deep swing via a contrapuntal duet between baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts’ snorts and high-pitched tongue jujitsu from one or both trumpeters Graham South and Nick Walters. Gutbucket slides follow from trombonist Kieran McLeod or Tullis Ronnie, while comping frails from guitarist Anton Hunter leads the group to a shrill, accented climax.

Founded by Hunter who with his brother, drummer Johnny Hunter, also in Article XI, works regularly with Mick Beck and others. The ensemble, named for the European Convention on Human Rights guarantee of freedom of assembly, assembles a coterie of top-flight improvisers such as Robert, one of whose bands, Sloth Racket, includes the Hunters, bassist Seth Bennett and alto saxophonist Sam Andreae, also members of Article XI.

Drummer Hunter’s clapping patterns and Bennett’s buzzing scrubs maintain the groove throughout, with space aplenty for snaky and sliding brass stutters and flutters plus altissimo reed squeals when all horns aren’t combined into a chromatic vamp. “Always a Fox”, the other stand-out track, displays most of these qualities as it segues from slow-moving reductionist shuffles to brass-band-like jumps. Trombone bites and burrs, an aviary flute overlay from Simon Prince guitar string stings and reed vibrations and growls from the sax section, which includes Oliver Dover plus Andreae and Prince, lead the group to a limber finale.

Proof that there are plenty of advanced sounds emanating from all parts of the UK, the band’s name proves that along with exemplary musicianship, its heart is in the right place.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Municrination 2. Always a Fox 3. Not the Kind of Jazz You Like

4. I Dreamed I Spat Out a Bee

Personnel: Graham South and Nick Walters (trumpet); Kieran McLeod and Tullis Rennie (trombone); Sam Andreae and Oliver Dover (alto saxophone); Simon Prince (tenor saxophone and flute); Cath Roberts (baritone saxophone); Anton Hunter (guitar); Seth Bennett (bass) and Johnny Hunter (drums)