LABELS: Black Box
WORKS: African Sunrise/Manhattan Rave; Darkness to Light,
PERFORMER: Evelyn Glennie (percussion), John Harle (saxophone), Philip Smith (piano); LPO
CATALOGUE NO: BBM 1051
Purveyors of some of the classiest sounds around, Black Box Music marks up a further notch with Evelyn Glennie’s debut recording for the label. She appears with flautist and composer Dave Heath, with John Harle and Philip Smith on an album confirming Heath’s reputation not only as a brilliant all-rounder, now conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra, but also as a great mixer.
Though it cannot be said that his subject matter is green in any sense other than the ecological – African Sunrise/Manhattan Rave treads the well-worn path from country to town – the music is as catchy and polished as ever. In his violin concerto Alone at the Frontier, Heath left much of the foreground material to be improvised by his soloist Nigel Kennedy. But in this latest release, artistic collaboration extends to the point where the boundaries of Heath’s own creative input other than those of enabler seem blurred. After several hearings, aided by its well-judged highlighting as a separate introductory track, Philip Smith’s defiantly resonant solo in Darkness to Light (1997) lingered longest in the memory. Are the notes his, however, or the composer’s, or perhaps the property of both? Nicholas Williams