Saxophone & flute virtuoso Theo Travis has had a pretty storied career so far, performing & recording with the likes of Robert Fripp, Steven Wilson, Jade Warrior, Soft Machine Legacy, David Gilmour, Gong, and numerous other prog-rock, jazz, and ambient acts. He's amassed a healthy solo career as well, and his latest release features a new band that he's calling 'Double Talk', with the CD title of Transgression. The line-up features guitarist Mike Outram, organ player Pete Whittaker, and drummer Nic France, with Travis contributing tenor sax, flute, and Fender Rhodes electric piano. Transgression was produced by Travis himself, recorded by Nick Pugh, and mixed & mastered by none other than Steven Wilson.
The raging "Fire Mountain" kicks things off in grand fashion, the title perfectly representing the feel of the tune, as ominous King Crimson styled atmosphere collides with quirky Gentle Giant influenced arrangements and solo spots that wouldn't have been out of place on an old Return to Forever or Elektric Band album. In fact, Outram's wild, explosive solo here recalls the 'Thunder from Down Under' himself, Frank Gambale, littered with blazing sweep picking and legato runs. The lengthy title track follows, starting off as a smooth jazz piece highlighted by Travis' gorgeous melodies before Outram & Whittaker bust into the mix with some dark, fiery solos, with France thundering beneath it all. Travis' soaring sax to take the tune out to its conclusion is a thing of beauty, making for an epic example of jazz-rock the way it should be played. "Smokin' at Klooks" is more of a laid back, jazz/blues number, with sultry organ laying the framework for some Peter Green/Carlos Santana/Mike Bloomfield inspired solos from Outram and a gorgeous flute excursion from Travis, while the smooth "Song for Samuel" has some dreamy sax/organ/guitar melodies that show the band in perfect synergy. Travis layers in some Fender Rhodes on the '70s styled fusion piece "Everything I Feared", which also features alluring flute & guitar solos, and the cover of Robert Wyatt's "Maryan" is near 8-minutes of gorgeous Canterbury styled jazz & prog sounds. Quirky yet highly melodic, Travis' flute first takes the listener on a journey before sumptuous organ from Whittaker lifts you off into the heavens for a magical ride. Many will recognize "A Place in the Queue", a song co-written with The Tangent's Andy Tillison and included on that album of the very same name. Smoldering organ backs some splendid guitar & sax melodies, with plenty of room for solos and haunting hooks, this one shows all the musical capabilities of the band in full force. The brief "The Call" finishes things up in calming fashion, as gentle keyboard washes float underneath Travis' mourning saxophone...beautiful stuff.
Filled with gorgeous jazz soundscapes and daring progressive rock, Transgression is quite simply a masterful album from Theo Travis and his new band. This is as good as it gets folks, so do not miss this one.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Fire Mountain
3) Smokin' at Klooks
4) Song for Samuel
5) Everything I Feared
7) A Place in the Queue
8) The Call