Aoife Mannix & Raymond MacDonald - Other Voices (3 stars)

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Aoife Mannix & Raymond MacDonald - Other Voices

(Nu-Jazz Europe)

JAZZ/POETRY

Jazz and poetry has a lengthy if often problematic history of interaction, and remains a specialised taste. This collaboration between Irish poet and Glasgow saxophonist originated by accident. The two were brought together for an unscheduled performance at a literary festival in Stavanger in 2003 and were sufficiently intrigued to try this CD length extension on the back of their single contribution to Sub-Urban Collective’s The Dreaming City CD.

The first surprise for many will be MacDonald playing piano rather than saxophone on nine of the 15 selections, although he reveals it was his first instrument. My preference lies with the more mobile, improvised feel of his horn work, but the contrast works well. Mannix’s readings are expressive without being over-theatrical, and the pair work together responsively. There is an implicit narrative thread to the selection, as the poems grow more intimate and darker across the disc.

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