Between the Lines

COMPOSERS: Matt Wates,Rodgers and Hart
LABELS: Audio B
ALBUM TITLE: Matt Wates Sextet
PERFORMER: Matt Wates (as), Martin Shaw (t, flhn), Andy Panayi (ts, f), Iain Dixon (ts), John Pearce (p), Malcolm Creese (b), Steve Brown (d, perc)
CATALOGUE NO: ABCD 5013 (distr. www.audio-b.com)

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Saxophonist Matt Wates won a Rising Star prize at this year’s British Jazz Awards and every member of his all-star sextet has been nominated for at least one award over the past two years. Wates is not only a superb alto saxophonist but also an extremely talented composer and arranger, and he composed nine of the 11 pieces on the album.

The remaining two are standards, and Rodgers and Hart’s ‘It Never Entered My Mind’ is given an exquisite performance featuring the magnificent Martin Shaw and Wates, with a fine solo by bassist Malcolm Creese. This disc makes occasional references to jazz history. The opening piece, ‘Funny, That’, has a funky groove and a neat theme with distant echoes of ‘Sidewinder’ and ‘Watermelon Man’ and features the excellent Andy Panayi on flute.

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The sextet has tremendous cohesion and never fails to swing or rock.