Paul Towndrow Sextet (4 stars)

PAUL TOWNDROW SEXTET

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Six By Six (Keywork Records)

JAZZ

Alto saxophonist Paul Towndrow and his new Sextet recorded this album in adverse circumstances, but there is nothing here that would give away the fact that it was made under unusual time constraints. Towndrow’s brand of inventive contemporary jazz offers plenty of variety in the writing and arranging, and the music has a nicely spontaneous feel that might not have emerged in less fraught circumstances.

Trumpeter Tom McNiven and tenor saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski add power and invention to Towndrow’s excellent quartet. His six new compositions for the sextet take in bristling hard bop on ‘Dr Jones Will Never Believe This’ and ‘Big Hitter’, a funky workout on ‘Crook Sludge’, and the Ornette Coleman-inspired melodic tangle of ‘Earth Scenes, Parts 1 & 2’. ‘Rostov’ is a mid-tempo workout, and ‘Protective Memory’ an elegant ballad. A quartet version of The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe’ completes an excellent disc.

(Kenny Mathieson)

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