Neon Quartet - Catch Me (4 stars)

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Neon Quartet - Catch Me

(Edition Records)

Neon began life as a trio in which saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and vibes player Jim Hart were joined by Gwilym Simcock, but the latter’s departure has seen the group reconfigured in quartet format, with another rising star of jazz piano, Kit Downes, and drummer Tim Giles. The musical personalities of the newcomers have opened up new possibilities for the group’s music, and they are explored to absorbing effect here.

Sulzmann’s writing dominated Neon’s previous trio recording, but all except Giles contribute compositions to the ten originals this time round. Sulzmann brings four decades of refined experience to his playing, and draws additional stimulus from the contributions of the three younger musicians. Each player provides ample invention, subtlety and energy, but it is the overall effect of their ensemble interaction and response that is the real key to the band’s success.

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