Collocutor have reduced their members from seven to five for the making of Continuation, and as the title suggests, it’s business as usual for band leader Tamar Osborn and Co. It is their third album, and finds Osborn dealing with grief and trying to keep things on an even keel. The modal jazz crew’s previous album, The Search, won praise from Giles Petersen and music mag The Wire.
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I suppose you’d be justified in asking, a ‘Continuation’ of what? Collocutor have stripped back from seven to five, and though the core of the band remains the same, you’ve got to wonder whether those left on the bench feel as if there’s any continuity.
Collocutor do sound good as a five mind, fewer members means there’s less jostling for space, there’s a reason the quintet is almost paradigmatic in jazz. Collocutor play with drums, bass, guitar, and horns, and thanks to a startling variety across the tracks, each very much gets its moment in the sun.
The album has a clear structure. The opening tracks verge on ambient, ‘Deep Peace’ sounding very much as new age as its title would suggest. This is followed by ‘Continuation’ and ‘Pause’ which slowly add elements till the rhythm section find their groove and the horns begin the cut loose.
It’s on ‘The Angry One’ though that the album reaches its climax. A hasty riff that verges on funk is played on horns while the drums get a good bashing and the guitarist does the face-melting solo thing. After three tracks of slowly increasing intensity, the release found here is well-earned and well needed.
The album then arcs back down, ‘Lost and Found’ first solo is the best of frenetic and abrasive saxophone, and its last is everything you’d expect from a flute solo. And finally, with ‘Pause Reprise’, Collocutor gently guide us back to rest.
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