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Perfect Houseplants - New Folk Songs - Mojo

01 May 2001
Chris ingham

One of the things that makes this brainest of contemporary jazz groups so special is that they have always been able to balance their genre-hopping plethora of ingenuity with a palpable beauty. Here, they return to the virtuosic quartet of Head Boys that formed in '92 – Mark Lockheart (saxes), Huw Watten (piano, accordion), Dudley Philips (bass), Martin France (drums) – for a series of Eastern Arts-commissioned pieces inspired by East Anglia. Smart composers all, you won't find any of these 'new folk songs' reworked on singers' night but there's much here that's moving, in addition to being impressive. Warren particularly has an alluring melancholy streak in his writing, as witnessed by the lovely Old Song New Song, an adaptation of the ancient Brigg Fair, and Dunwich & The Sea, a haunting portrait of the Suffolk town crumbling over eroding cliffs. This band are close to becoming a national treasure.

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