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Kit Downes Trio: Quiet Tiger

On his second album, Quiet Tiger, British award winning pianist Kit Downes has put together such an incredibly rich sounding and diverse collection of original compositions, that it's bound to garner this talented young musician a plethora of accolades within the jazz world. Although just twenty four years old, Downes, together with band mates Calum Gourlay (bass) and James Maddren (drums), is unique in that not only does he possess an abundance of youthful exuberance, but he deftly combines that with the subtle and worldly grace usually found in seasoned musicians that have a lot more years and experience under the belts.

Listening to Quiet Tiger is akin to taking a magical, hour long journey that brings together that ever illusive light and shade element that is so critical, but rarely often found in recordings of this nature. Imagine a story teller expertly and ever so patiently weaving the critical ingredients of his narrative together, in such a way that you can't put the book down, and you have just the tip of the iceberg of what Downes brings to the table as a composer.

With Gourlay and Maddren firmly behind him every step of the way, with their propulsive and expressive rhythmic accents, Downes is free to unleash a plethora of buoyant melodies on the upbeat "Tambourine", the playful "Frizzi Pazzi" and "In Brixen". The addition of extra 'voices' James Allsopp (tenor sax, bass clarinet) and Adrien Dennefeld (cello) helps flesh out and add another layer to their already extensive musical palette. This darker layer adds a feeling of mystery as well as it brings a heightened sense of tension to tracks like "Boreal", "Attached" and the darkest and most abstract sounding cut on the album "Wooden Birds", which definitely leans more towards the avant-garde. The light and shade element is balanced perfectly and when you couple that in with Kit's subtle and reflective playing on the softer compositions, "With A View" and the title track, along with the delicate beauty permeating throughout "Fonias" and the magnificent, ten minute "Skip James", it becomes incredibly difficult to ignore the inherent, compositional brilliance displayed over the course of this recording.

Quiet Tiger is an absolutely stellar effort from this young pianist/ composer, so the bar has been set pretty high for album number three. However, if anyone can successfully merge the light and shade factor together into such a cohesive and well rounded listing experience, for another go 'round, it would be Kit Downes.

Track Listing
1) Boreal
2) Tambourine
3) ...With A View
4) Frizzi Pazzi
5) Attached
6) In Brixen
7) Wooden Birds
8) Fonias
9) The Wizards
10) Skip James
11) Quiet Tiger

Added: June 15th 2011
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Basho Records
Hits: 1523
Language: english

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