Alison Rayner Quintet: A Magic Life

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Various composers
LABELS: Blow the Fuse Records
ALBUM TITLE: Alison Rayner Quintet
WORKS: A Magic Life
PERFORMER: Alison Rayner (bass), Buster Birch (drums), Deidre Cartwright (guitar), Diane McLoughlin (sax), Steve Lodder (piano)

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There are many ways to make an uplifting jazz album, but one that manages to convey its deeply personal sources of inspiration, while at the same time welcoming the listener into the music, is surely one of the most satisfying. So it is with this second outing for bass player Alison Rayner’s commendable quintet, offering a set of pieces inspired by real-world ideas, people and situations but infused with the kind of heady imagination that transforms their resonances into a series of vivacious musical adventures.

These eight original tunes reference all manner of sources without any sense of contrivance, traversing Ellingtonian swing, homespun pastoralism, jittery quasi-Bach, infectious grooves and many other territories with a natural ease, but they also spring enough good-natured surprises on the listener to dismiss any notion of complacency. The recorded sound is expertly shaped around both the group and the excellent solos.
(See for upcoming UK tour dates.)

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Roger Thomas