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Chip Wickham|Blue to Red

Blue to Red

Chip Wickham

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The title of British jazzman Chip Wickham's third long-player refers to one of his greatest fears: That climate change will cause our blue and verdant earth to become a red desert like the planet Mars. That said, Blue to Red, deemed by its creator to be the disc that connects his own music to the spiritual jazz tradition ushered in by Alice Coltrane and Yusef Lateef, among others, sounds not like a musical engine of the apocalypse, but like the spirit of joy itself. Wickham leaves his saxophones in their cases in favor of his flutes. The Coltrane reference may be sketched into his compositions, but it takes on physical characteristics through the playing of harpist Amanda Whiting who, like Wickham, is an alumnus of Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Orchestra. The other sidemen include session boss Dan Goldman on keys, drummer Jon Scott (Sons of Kemet), bassist Simon Houghton (Fingathing), and percussionist Rick Weedon (Mr. Scruff). Wickham is a canny producer. He implicitly understands that organic music making is a state of mind, not a goal realized by instrumentation alone. The opening title track offers gentle, shuffling drums and percussion in undulant rhythms, Whiting's harp glissandos offer a frame for Wickham's flute to color the melody, add layers of harmony, and provide texture. Goldman's Rhodes and gossamer synth glisten and shimmer, adding an exotic vibe. While spirituality is a motivating factor here, there is another: the influence of library sounds and action soundtracks from the 20th century. Check the groove in "Route One." Its hard bop tempo is put forth by the rhythm section which lays down a tough, swinging vamp. Goldman adds a choppy comp. When Whiting glides in with sweeping chords, Wickham grabs the melody and embellishes as his rhythm section adds a funky edge. Whiting's fleet and moving solo adds an additional harmonic dimension and resonant timbres. Wickham's flute break sounds like a James Spaulding jam composed by Horace Silver. "Interstellar" marries spiritual jazz to the soundtrack aesthetic (a la Lalo Schifrin's Bullitt or Mannix) with a killer Rhodes solo from Goldman. Wickham picks up on it and engages in trading fours in call-and-response. The set's longest track, "The Cosmos," unfolds very gradually. Its opening section is a gauzy, spacious drift with the rhythm section whispering in the foreground. Goldman's painterly chord voicings add a frame to the interplay between Wickham and Whiting. "Double Cross" is gritty and fast, with Goldman's Rhodes and synths both soloing and painting a fat, heavy, funky backdrop. Scott's snare and hi-hat breaks, and a propulsive shuffle delivers a dramatic Headhunters vibe in the backbeat. Wickham's solo sounds filthy, visceral, swinging, and soulful (think Jeremy Steig). "Mighty Yusef" is a blissed-out conclusion, evoking the Savoy and Riverside eras. The band creates a tender, pillowy cradle for Wickham's melodic yet interrogatory solos. With Blue to Red, he uses the temporal to attain the spiritual with a generous spirit. This music is as deep as it is welcoming; it reaches out of itself to embrace the whole world.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Blue to Red

Chip Wickham

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1
Blue to Red
00:07:22

Chip Wickham, Artist, MainArtist - Chip Whickam, Composer

2020 Lovemonk 2020 Lovemonk

2
Route One
00:06:58

Chip Wickham, Artist, MainArtist - Chip Whickam, Composer

2020 Lovemonk 2020 Lovemonk

3
Interstellar
00:08:29

Chip Wickham, Artist, MainArtist - Chip Whickam, Composer

2020 Lovemonk 2020 Lovemonk

4
The Cosmos
00:11:13

Chip Wickham, Artist, MainArtist - Chip Whickam, Composer

2020 Lovemonk 2020 Lovemonk

5
Double Cross
00:05:30

Chip Wickham, Artist, MainArtist - Chip Whickam, Composer

2020 Lovemonk 2020 Lovemonk

6
Mighty Yusef
00:05:54

Chip Wickham, Artist, MainArtist - Chip Whickam, Composer

2020 Lovemonk 2020 Lovemonk

Descrição do álbum

The title of British jazzman Chip Wickham's third long-player refers to one of his greatest fears: That climate change will cause our blue and verdant earth to become a red desert like the planet Mars. That said, Blue to Red, deemed by its creator to be the disc that connects his own music to the spiritual jazz tradition ushered in by Alice Coltrane and Yusef Lateef, among others, sounds not like a musical engine of the apocalypse, but like the spirit of joy itself. Wickham leaves his saxophones in their cases in favor of his flutes. The Coltrane reference may be sketched into his compositions, but it takes on physical characteristics through the playing of harpist Amanda Whiting who, like Wickham, is an alumnus of Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Orchestra. The other sidemen include session boss Dan Goldman on keys, drummer Jon Scott (Sons of Kemet), bassist Simon Houghton (Fingathing), and percussionist Rick Weedon (Mr. Scruff). Wickham is a canny producer. He implicitly understands that organic music making is a state of mind, not a goal realized by instrumentation alone. The opening title track offers gentle, shuffling drums and percussion in undulant rhythms, Whiting's harp glissandos offer a frame for Wickham's flute to color the melody, add layers of harmony, and provide texture. Goldman's Rhodes and gossamer synth glisten and shimmer, adding an exotic vibe. While spirituality is a motivating factor here, there is another: the influence of library sounds and action soundtracks from the 20th century. Check the groove in "Route One." Its hard bop tempo is put forth by the rhythm section which lays down a tough, swinging vamp. Goldman adds a choppy comp. When Whiting glides in with sweeping chords, Wickham grabs the melody and embellishes as his rhythm section adds a funky edge. Whiting's fleet and moving solo adds an additional harmonic dimension and resonant timbres. Wickham's flute break sounds like a James Spaulding jam composed by Horace Silver. "Interstellar" marries spiritual jazz to the soundtrack aesthetic (a la Lalo Schifrin's Bullitt or Mannix) with a killer Rhodes solo from Goldman. Wickham picks up on it and engages in trading fours in call-and-response. The set's longest track, "The Cosmos," unfolds very gradually. Its opening section is a gauzy, spacious drift with the rhythm section whispering in the foreground. Goldman's painterly chord voicings add a frame to the interplay between Wickham and Whiting. "Double Cross" is gritty and fast, with Goldman's Rhodes and synths both soloing and painting a fat, heavy, funky backdrop. Scott's snare and hi-hat breaks, and a propulsive shuffle delivers a dramatic Headhunters vibe in the backbeat. Wickham's solo sounds filthy, visceral, swinging, and soulful (think Jeremy Steig). "Mighty Yusef" is a blissed-out conclusion, evoking the Savoy and Riverside eras. The band creates a tender, pillowy cradle for Wickham's melodic yet interrogatory solos. With Blue to Red, he uses the temporal to attain the spiritual with a generous spirit. This music is as deep as it is welcoming; it reaches out of itself to embrace the whole world.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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