Philip Clouts Quartet - Sennen Cove
Released in 2010 on Point Records, the Philip Clouts Quartet's Sennen Cove follows on from pianist Clouts' previous trio album, with which it shares bassist Alex Keen. The rhythm section is completed by drummer Paul Cavaciuti. Both latter players have a list of respectible credits, and of course Philip Clouts hardly needs any introduction and has been principally known as a member of Afrobeat band Zubop Gambia, aka Zubop. Rounding off the quartet is saxman Carlos Lopez-Real, best known as a member of the F-IRE collective.
Clouts' distinctive style is principally informed by Afro-Latin jazz, the vivacious grooves of West African Afrobeat and the vibrant music of South Africa, where he was born, although he grew up in Britain. His inspiration is the coastal area of the English South West, where he has lived in recent years. A most inspirational area indeed with a fascinating landscape. The ten originals that make up Sennen Cove reflect all these influences and inspirations in a subtle, pleasant blend of jazz, funk and world music.
It should, however, be noted that apart from the two ballads on this album and the closer, the dominant style of this delightful album is a mostly gentle Afro-Latin one, with some excellent grooves that have Clouts swinging exquisitely. The closer, Commotion in C, is easily the most infectious piece on this highly infectious album and wonderfully reflects the vibrancy of the music of South Africa's townships.
Sennen Cove is a lively and mature delight, driven by a very lively, even vigorous rhythm section that perfectly complements Philip Clouts' exuberant and highly rhythmic piano and Carlos Lopez-Real's lively, fluid yet cool sax. Their excellent playing and inspired improvs make Sennen Cove a joy, exuberant yet laid back, and above all, highly accessible. This is good, solid jazz that is easily recognisable as such.
Clouts' compositions are strong and mature and always hold the interest. The jazz, funk and world music blend works well, and the overall up-beat nature of the album helps make it as enjoyable as it indeed is.
Consistent throughout and compelling, Sennen Cove is a pleasurable experience, and with its (predominantly) latin grooves works unusually well for a UK based band. Above all though perhaps it is Clouts' outstanding piano that makes this album irresistible.
The Philip Clout Quartet's Sennen Cove clearly should be essential in any good comprehensive contemporary jazz collection. I'll certainly look forward to hopefully catching them at a gig sometime soon.
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