David Newton - Victim of Circumstance - Jazz Rag

Here is a tasteful, thoughtful, well-rehersed trio of piano, bass and drums. Seven out of eight tracks are by Newton on piano with Alec Dankworth (bass)and Clark Tracey (drums) - both of impressive lineage - and one track taken from an earlier session with David supported by the redoubtable Dave Green/Allan Ganley duo. What of the music then? The style and execution? Well, David Newton's spacious, ultra-relaxed piano is texturally of gossamer lightness, harmonically of direct, selectively voiced, uncluttered chording with carefully rationed dissonance, a filigree right hand of melodic lyricism and a poised sense of rubato which is so interesting, and wholly controlled. The lion's share of playing time is devoted to much easy-tempo, introspective, economical embroidery, and so very musical. Only the final track, Kern's The Way You Look Tonight, is counted in at a bar-per-second lick. The two trios are wonderfully integrated - real terms - never an obtrusive, selfish surge anywhere.

Newton is an impressive composer, too; five of the tracks are his own work. The title track, Victim of Circumstance, carries a lovely, almost medieval tune, totally classic in construction and powerfully direct in cadential resolution. He possesses a massive flair for well-constructed melody, then a gentle, but by no means pussyfooting way with dynamics - his accenting is firm, positive and discriminately weighted. The simple fact that he rations his decibels gives him so much more scope for development and drama.

All this is so relaxed and anti-frantic that he seems to have all the time in the world. And so he has; at thirty-two there is infinite possibility about his already matured, but deliciously fresh talent. Newton's law, as laid down here, has a ring of truth and greatness about it.

Jazz Rag
18 May 1991