The British born jazz pianist (recently appearing with Hatfield and the North) can be found here with a 5 piece (mostly drawn from the Belgian band The Wrong Object) on additional keys, drum, bass, saxes, trumpet and flugelhorn, recorded live at De Singer in Rijkevorsel for Dutch national radio in late 2007. The poignant tribute to the late and much loved Canterbury saxophonist, Elton Dean, "Psychic Warrior", opens up the set – an intricate acoustic piano piece in a shimmering display of ivories from Maguire. Sax joins as the music segues into "John's fragment", where the sound takes a more clinical jazz phrasing. The leading sax bounces joyously along like a Dipper on a fast flowing stream while the steady rhythm section flows along underneath, embellished by flashes of sunlight from trumpet, synths and organ.
The 15 minute long "Saturn" suite follows, written by Belgian horn player Jean-Paul Estiviénart. A tentative instrumental soup sets the improvisational scene as the players chip in and then coalesce into a muddy brew, bubbling with bright guitar lines and twinkling piano. Cadences of drums and organic, honking horns flow out and around this smoothly curved and relaxing compôte. Keyboard player, Michel Delville contributes "Theresa's Dress", a soulful Soft-Machine like sax offering with gentle washes of percussion and keyboards and occasional spirited bursts of notes. Maguire then treats us to "Pumpkin Soup", a masterfully upbeat improvisation which starts misleadingly slow. Gradually, bursts of liquid piano chord progressions and light-touches of sax are given firmer footing with bolder statements and clearer melodies punching through.
Fittingly, the last song is one of Elton Dean's, "Seven for Lee", a melodic saxophone tour-de force. Alex played with Elton previously and of course they both shared the Hatfield's family legacy. Alex was the perfect man then to replace Dave Stewart in the last Hatfield tour and was a joy to watch on stage; this delightful album shows him as a great composer and player in his own right. The sadness is that since that tour such a brief time ago, the musical world has lost both Elton and Pip Pyle.
1. Psychic Warrior
2. John's fragment
4. Theresa's dress
5. Pumpkin Soup
6. Seven for Lee