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Perfect Houseplants - New Folk Songs - Yorkshire Evening Press

22 February 2001
Yorkshire Evening Press
Ron Burnett
4 Stars

The title and instrumentation give clues about where certain European jazz groups are heading, confidently freed from the original American model. Alongside the tricky time signatures popularised by Dave Brubeck, and the usual small-group jazz format, we find the accordion and recorders, not preferred instruments for jazzers. The complex interweaving ensembles and rhythms of Perfect Houseplants could attract the label chamber jazz, were it not for the energy of the performances and the irresistible rhythmic pulse. Although the arrangements are careful and intricate, the band retains the highly original timbres of each individual player, the raison d'etre of both folk and jazz musicians. The opening track Pageant has echoes of Brubeck's experiments with time signatures such as Blue Rondo A La Turk, borrowed from the European classics. New Song Old Song, Earl's Slog and Nancy are all derived from traditional folk songs. This is an exciting fusion of jazz, folk and modern electronic instruments. Recommended listening.
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