London based saxophonist Trish Clowes had a strong slowburner of a debut album that, though ambitious, probably had a bit too much in there. The full orchestra in places tended to distract from Clowes’ fantastic talents, and although her compositional abilities were nicely highlighted, her playing was perhaps not shown in its strongest light.
‘Tangent’ however did feature some excellent players, and guitarist Chris Montague, bassist Callum Gourlay and drummer James Maddren all return here to provide a powerhouse quartet with Clowes. But this time though, star pianist Gwiliym Simcock drops in to lend a stellar guest appearance, also with Heidi Parsons on cello, and even some vocals provided by the much welcome addition of Kathleen Willison.
Willison also brings ‘The Sphinx’ to the table (based in part on the Oscar Wilde poem of the same name) and manages to boast a new career best guitar solo from Chris Montague, who also counters Clowes on the strong duet number ‘Little Tune’, a beautifully romantic piece that showcases the perfect pairing of these two A-list performers. ‘Seven’ too, though not a duet, also features some superb interplay between the two soloists, that almost makes you hope Montague abandons all other projects just to work more with Clowes.
‘Iris Nonet’ and ‘Animator’ boasts some brilliant piano work courtesy of Simcock and an improvising string quartet (led by the equally brilliant Thomas Gould) that just sound incredible and have to be heard to be believed. ‘Iris Nonet’ in turn throws every emotional style into the mix; languid romance one moment, complex and darker turns the next, and even some welcome relaxed humour, it all comes together to make a full-to-bursting musical movement that for now at least is sure to be Trish Clowes calling card.
So what of Clowes, and ‘And In The Night Time…’? Still a wonderful composer, Clowes here has stepped up a gear, and even better displays here talents as a saxophonist. Her softer-toned tenor sounding even more confident than on her debut, the sometimes too frequent Stan Getz comparisons are in-truth perhaps appropriate here, boasting as she does not only his silky smooth sound, but also his richly melodic masterful command of the instrument as well.
A great collection of pieces, and a rewardingly rich tapestry when taken as a whole, ‘And In The Night Time…’ is Clowes at a new peak. Sat at the head of the premier league of contemporary UK musicians, based on what she has produced here, she will only go from strength to strength, and you really must make an effort to catch her live when you have the chance.