COMPOSERS: Huw Warren (piano),Iain Ballamy (sax),June Tabor (voice)
ALBUM TITLE: Quercus
PERFORMER: June Tabor (voice), Iain Ballamy (sax), Huw Warren (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 3724555
By the time UK readers see this there will have been a tour’s worth of opportunities to catch this intriguing trio performing live in support of this release. But despite the fact that this is a live recording the music sounds oddly flat (in the performative rather than the intonational sense) and the delivery appears to be going through the motions. Perhaps the musicians are just over-familiar with both each other and the repertoire; the band has existed for several years and there are various other intersecting relationships between the members, so maybe such an album should have been made sooner, or the band’s approach may be too subtle to capture perfectly even on this sonically impeccable ECM disc. Nevertheless, the concept (legendary folk singer sings mixture of traditional, literary and bespoke material with a jazz-inflected accompaniment from two empathetic instrumentalists) is appealing and the material elegantly crafted, so it’s worth a listen.