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Andrew Atkinson Quartet: Live-Keep Looking Forward

The Andrew Atkinson of the Andrew Atkinson Quartet is an absolute powerhouse of a jazz drummer, who not only has with the aid of pianist Jim Gasior, bassist Kurt Hengstebeck and Tivon Pennicott on sax brought to life a mix of jazz classics and original numbers, but also does so in a way that adds ideas and styles that are pretty unique to the genre. Yes, Live-Keep Looking Forward is pretty much straight on jazz, however it is Atkinson's Caribbean rhythms and structures which add a new dimension to this music - without taking it too far out of its comfort zone.

Unsurprisingly Atkinson's playing sits very proudly at the front of the mix, but he's well up to the task with a remarkably full on style allowing him to jostle with Pennicott's saxophone for supremacy and it's a battle well worth hearing! Packed with smart time changes, tempo variations and stylistic about turns each of the eight songs proper on this disc (the "Intro" is literally the band being introduced on stage) runs to near, or over ten minutes. However just as there's barely time to take breath between the rhythmic rumbles, bass bursts and saxophone splashes, neither is there even the slightest drop in interest as the ever changing focus ensnares your attention. Over and above that, the arrangements are smart and interesting and this band is tight, tight, tight!

Whether it is the reggaefied Miles Davis classics "Blue And Green" and "Seven Steps To Heaven", or the uplifting originals "Ides Of March", by Gastor or "Dizziness" courtesy of Atkinson and Pennicott, each member of this quartet gets their spot in the sun, winding magical explosions of virtuosity seamlessly into the song's framework. Doing so while moving the music forward in a tight and focused way is a true art and one that the AAQ have most certainly mastered.

Atkinson himself explains in the liner notes, that the reason this album is a live recording is that an audience brings a special type of energy to a performance and on the evidence of Live-Keep Looking Forward, that was an inspired choice. Every note seems to burst with life and Atkinson's percussive work is as spellbinding as it is impressive, leading to a totally convincing, captivating performance.

In an ever evolving musical world, jazz can often be viewed as a sterile, old fashioned genre. One quick blast of this album will quickly destroy those thoughts!

Track Listing
1. Intro
2. Dizziness
3. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
4. Blue And Green
5. Chillin'
6. Seven Steps To Heaven
7. I Know I'll Love You
8. Ides Of March
9. Keep Looking Forward

Added: October 1st 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Andrew Atkinson Live
Hits: 2883
Language: english

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