The Grip - Celebrate (4 stars)

The Grip - Celebrate

Oren Marshall displays subtle inventiveness on vibrant contemporary jazz record


The symbiotic relationship between the bird and the elephant is one of nature's sweetest. Listening to Celebrate, one can readily imagine Finn Peters' alto sax as an egret, fluttering around Oren Marshall's waddling elephant tuba. In this little ecosystem, Tom Skinner's drums are a thousand chittering insects, dancing micro-rhythms across the great mammal's leathery hide. Marshall and Skinner are one half of dancehall jazzers Sons of Kemet, and while there are no Caribbean flavours here, the tubaist brings the same agile mix of low-end wobble and melodic flair. Skinner's lack of showiness belies a subtle inventiveness. On 'The Grip' he marches a company of clockwork soldiers around a see-sawing alto theme, while on '199 Blues' he maps lateral paths around Marshall's gutbucket riff. From the knotty free-bop of 'Compost Fly' to the Arabesque drones of 'Saladin', Celebrate adds further momentum to London's vibrant contemporary jazz scene.

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