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Arnie Somogyi's Ambulance - Accident and Insurgency - The Guardian


08 February 2008
The Guardian
John Fordham
3 Stars

Classy UK bassist Somogyi's Ambulance quintet is currently touring with the gleaming sound of the American former Herbie Hancock trumpeter Eddie Henderson in its front line. But the repertoire on this CD comes from a series of workshop improvisations supported by Aldeburgh's Snape Maltings in 2006. The area's flatlands and seascapes are strongly evoked by the tidal cymbal washes, occasional birdsong electronics, and trickling piano atmospherics (pianist Tim Lapthorn and tenor saxist Paul Booth both establish a strong presence), but there's also plenty of forceful jazz grooving, with Henderson's sound keeping its lustre and poise over the band's trickiest time-signature challenges. Herbie Hancock's 1970s Mwandishi sextet exerts a subtle influence on the tone colours (Henderson played in it, and Somogyi loves it), and the drifting Tumbledown brings out the trumpeter's Miles Davis-like muted tenderness. The slow-Latin Solace and the shimmery Ellingtonesque Adrift tread water a little, but for the most part it's elegant writing hitched to imaginative improvising.


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