Personal Standards

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Home Made
PERFORMER: Tim Whitehead (ts), Liam Noble, Pete Jacobsen (p), Milo Fell, Dave Barry (d), Sam Burgess, Davide Mantovani, Arnie Somogyi (db)
CATALOGUE NO: HMR 047 (distr. New Note)

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Tim Whitehead has a law degree, but in 1976 he turned his back on the legal profession to devote himself entirely to jazz. He now ranks with the finest European saxophonists and small-group composers, and many of the most gifted younger British musicians, including Django Bates and Denys Baptiste, have passed through his groups or workshops.

Whitehead has made several excellent albums, but Personal Standards may well be his masterpiece. His own playing has reached an extraordinary level of musical and emotional expression, and in all eight performances here he seems to reach a Jarrett-like state of ecstasy, with passionate, newly minted phrases and melodic lines. The unusual standards he favours all lend themselves to a funky or gospel treatment, and the very rhythms seem ecstatic.

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His new quartet with the superb Liam Noble on piano and the marvellous rhythm section of Sam Burgess and Milo Fell perform six of the pieces, and his previous quartet with Jacobsen, Somogyi and Barry perform the other two pieces which include ‘Lovely Day’, one of the joyous high spots.