ALBUM TITLE: Quercus
PERFORMER: June Tabor (voice), Iain Ballamy (tenor & soprano sax), Huw Warren (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: ECM 574 3078
Several years have elapsed since the first album from this interesting trio. Ballamy and Tabor already had pianist Huw Warren in common as a collaborator, so there’s plenty of intuitive cohesion present. Jazz-folk crossbreeding has been done well in the past in a variety of different ways by groups as diverse as Pentangle and Ken Hyder’s wonderful Talisker (which coincidentally also recorded for ECM), but here the focus is on traditional songs and a few well-chosen cover versions.
What makes this gathering unusual is the manner in which the material is selected and arranged, which deserves its own handle as the ‘New Melancholia’ (you read it here first). Here are stories of lost loves, wartime strife, forlorn hope and death by misadventure, all handled with a lugubrious grace of which Dowland would have been proud. The music expertly negotiates this tragic quality, although Tabor’s close-captured voice overwhelms the instrumentalists at times.
Listen to an excerpt from this recording here.