COMPOSERS: Mark Hanslip,Riaan Vosloo
PERFORMER: Twelves: Mark Hanslip (sax), Bob Updegraff (guitar), Riaan Vosloo (bass), Tim Giles (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: Babel BDV1088
Since their 2008 debut, Twelves has expanded from a trio with the addition of guitarist Rob Updegraaf, and have produced an album which frequently reminds me of various groups involving Bill Frisell, including Power Tools and Frisell’s own working quartet of the late 1980s. During some of its most intense moments they even strike echoes of Last Exit.
Those comparisons don’t indicate music that is predominantly confrontational, though. The compositions, penned by Hanslip and Vosloo apart from the traditional ‘Shallow Brown’, incorporate a range of moods. Hanslip’s husky tenor is heard to equally good advantage on reflective pieces such as ‘Many Splendoured Thing: Part 2’ and ‘Shallow Brown’ and edgy tracks like the impressive closer, ‘Mr Zero’. Updegraaf makes use of electronic effects, yet his playing remains rooted in the physical characteristics of the guitar itself. Giles’s and Vosloo’s busy patterns contribute far more than simply a rhythmic underpinning. Barry Witherden