"Don't think too much, people" is the spoken word snippet that begins the title track of Amelia White's newest album, Rhythm of the Rain. It's a flippant warning, a half-joke, a sideways call-to-arms that announces a casual subversion threading through these rollicking 9 songs from the opening explosion of Summer sunshine, through the heat of lust and addiction, landing with a glance at politics and fate while the window is still wide open, warm breeze blowing in the late afternoon. Amelia White asks us to not take it all so seriously and, at the same time, shows us how critical it all is: love, fate, death, grief, politics, which isn't surprising considering White made this record in the four days between her Mother's funeral and her own wedding. Rhythm of the Rain digs deep. Her well worn smokey pipes deliver a rawness you'd expect from mining that liminal space between grief and joy.
John Jenkins: yet another seventeenth century English composer who deserves to be more widely known. This delightful CD from The Consort of Musicke directed by Trevor Jones is no dutiful study of a hidden but rather uninspiring corner of English early Baroque consort music; rather, a mosaic – rich in color and shape, carefully crafted and full of surprises. Listen, for instance, to the unpretentious, jaunty and appropriately figurative progress through the Saraband (52, tr.6) and the restrained melancholy of the Fancy-Air (4, tr.7). Jenkins' counterpoint is well-wrought, his instrumental palette fresh and crisp and his melodies catchy without being fey or superficial in any way. He is in excellent hands with the Consort of Musicke… eight string players of the caliber of Monica Huggett and Alison Crum violins; Alan Wilson organ and Anthony Rooley theorbo. If fresh, beautiful, expertly-played English consort music appeals to you, don't hesitate to get this gem of a CD – actually a reissue of a Decca disc from 1983: it's unreservedly recommended.
Ed Jones may now be considered a stalwart of the UK & International jazz sceen. Signed orignally by Gilles Peterson on Acid Jazz and after many years in Incognito he has always ploughed his own furrow leading different small groups himself. This quartet with Impossible Ark regulars Ross Stanley, Riaan Vosloo & Tim Giles is a fully freewheeling afair. Taking hard bop melodies and systematically dismantling them. Rough, furocious and virtuosic performances by all members of the group are always soulful.