Mark Perry & Duncan Eagles – Road Ahead

road ahead(F-IRECD 65)

Trumpeter Mark Perry and saxophonist Duncan Eagles were heard recently forming the frontline of the Ollie Howell Quintet, but this band goes back to last year’s London Jazz Festival, where they played this material – all written by the pair – on the opening night.

Since then they have gone into the studio and this is the result. With Perry and Eagles are pianist Sam Leak who has his own band, Aquarium, bassist Max Luthert who is two thirds, along with Eagles, of the band Partikel, and drummer Chris Nickolls, plus Gareth Lockrane on flute and Ola Onabule on wordless vocals.

Those last two add some nice sounds to the basic quintet format, and the arrangements use them skilfully. This is fairly straight down the line modern acoustic jazz given added style by virtue of the strong writing and even stronger playing.

Perry and Eagles are marvellously in sync, as we wight expect from the time they have spent playing together since they first met. Both are Trinity College graduates.

The recording has a very relaxed and natural feel to it, and is a most pleasurable way to spend an hour.

The best place to start could be the title track. Perry opens it solo, using some lovely growled dirty notes and smeared phrases, before Leak, Luthert and Nickolls set the rhythmic cushion down and Perry and Eagles delineate the melody. Leak’s solo starts to reveal the subtle depths of what had appeared a relatively simple theme, Eagles explores it further with a lovely sense of space and pacing to his solo, gradually adding more and more drive and intensity, while the rhythm team plays their part in adding tension. The final release comes in the return to the two-horned theme.

  • This album is due for release on 2 December but the band will be launching it as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street, Soho, at lunchtime on Sunday. More details of that gig here.  And you can buy the album here.

Categories: CD review

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