Friday 24 November 2017

Jazz: Laid-back Redmond gives us an understated gem

Grainne Farren

Reviewed this week: Roots by David Redmond; Skylark by Carmel McCreagh

David Redmond: Roots (Fresh Sound)
Redmond (double bass), Jason Rigby (tenor saxophone), Bill Carrothers (piano), Kevin Brady (drums)

THIS is David Redmond's first album under his own name, featuring his own compositions. He and Brady have been playing together for years, forming a tasty rhythm section for top musicians like Phil Ware and Tommy Halferty. Carrothers, who is from the US, often joins them for live appearances.

The three have already made two CDs as the Kevin Brady Trio. Most of the tracks are taken at a leisurely pace, restrained and understated, with a melancholy touch.

Roots and Big Mouth are more extrovert numbers, featuring strong, bright piano solos, but the tenor player, another American, favours a mournful sound throughout. Redmond keeps his bass solos brief, leaving ample space for the others to express themselves, backing them with his usual sensitivity and dexterity.

Carmel McCreagh: Skylark (All Time Records)
McCreagh (vocals) and Fiachra Trench (piano, keyboards) with various groups

A talented vocalist sings 12 songs with words by Johnny Mercer and tunes by masters like Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen and Jimmy Van Heusen. It should be a winner.

Unfortunately, on most tracks the instruments are too prominent. It's not that the musicians are playing loudly, just that the balance is wrong, so the singer seems to be in the background. She is not completely dominated, and the words are always audible, but there is enough of a muffling effect to make the album unsatisfactory.

Personal appearances by Carmel McCreagh are well worth looking out for, but this recording does not do her justice.

  • As mentioned last week, the main live event coming up is Ahmad Jamal's concert in Vicar Street on Friday night. In the meantime, JJ Smyth's features Jim Doherty and Louis Stewart this afternoon and the Hugh Buckley Quartet on Thursday night.

Irish Independent

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