Roger Beaujolais Quartet: Mind The Gap

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Roger Beaujolais Quartet
LABELS: StayTuned
ALBUM TITLE: Roger Beaujolais Quartet: Mind The Gap
WORKS: Mind The Gap
PERFORMER: Roger Beaujolais (vibraphone), Robin Aspland (piano), Simon Thorpe (bass), etc

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You’ve got to hand it to Roger Beaujolais even though he’s already holding four mallets. His chosen instrument, the vibraphone, is still not commonplace in the world of jazz, yet a few virtuosos (including the often-unmentioned Cal Tjader in this context) have managed to set a very high bar for this specialised percussion instrument.

That said, Beaujolais, here fronting an airy sax-less quartet rather than his previous quintet, surely belongs in that number. I invoked Tjader mainly because of the Latin lilt present on several of the tracks here, but the Beaujolais style is lucid and playful, eschewing Tjader’s acrobatic dynamics and overstated rubato and letting both the tunes – some his own, others by the likes of Milton Nascimento and Chick Corea – and his sidemen speak for themselves.

The recording has both warmth and definition, although the pronounced left-to-right sound stage is exaggerated by headphones.

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Roger Thomas