Stonephace Stabbins Transcendental

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COMPOSERS: Lary ‘Stonephace’ Stabbins
ALBUM TITLE: Stonephace Stabbins Transcendental
WORKS: Transcendental
PERFORMER: Larry ‘Stonephace’ Stabbins (sax, flute), Zoe Rahman (piano), Karl Rasheed (bass), Crispin ‘Spry’ Robinson (percussion), Pat Illingworth (drums)


For this second album made under the pseudonym ‘Stonephace’, saxist Larry Stabbins has stepped aside from the dizzying ‘jazztronica’ haze of his preceding 2009 disc. His new band are all part of Jerry Dammers’s Spatial AKA Orchestra, a touring collective of some of the UK’s finest jazz talent that convenes to perform the interplanetary jazz of Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane. And on this disc, this smaller group successfully uses John Coltrane’s transcendental soundscape as its key reference.

An incantational opener, Trane’s ‘Africa’, complete with wailing sax, sets the scene, before a striking set of Stabbins’s own works. Pianist Zoe Rahman deftly turns in a McCoy Tyner-esque stint on ‘Noetic’, while a new version of Stabbins’s ‘White Queen Psychology’ sees electronic loops replaced by Rasheed’s brooding bass. Fans of Stabbins’s past will relish ‘Soul Train’, from his 1980s band Working Week. Recorded in a live studio take, the disc’s analogue sound works a treat.

Keep a look out for Stabbins’s London Jazz Festival set that’s being featured on Radio 3’s Jazz Lineup.


Neil McKim