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Quercus: Nightfall

Having turned many heads with their self titled debut, British trio Quercus return with Nightfall. Comprising singer June Tabor, tenor and soprano sax man Iain Ballamy and pianist Huw Warren, this threesome are all about atmosphere, poise and patience. With what's on show often stark and barren, it's impossible to suggest that this ECM released effort is going to be for everyone; a mixture of extremely well known and lesser so tracks all moulded into dark, claustrophobic meanders that not once rise above a crawl. As often as not piano sets the scene, gentle notes placed exactly to allow the punctuations of saxophone to add the darkest of hues. Tabor's voice is a deep, dense rush of emotion, the considered but heartfelt approach she takes quite heady in a relaxed but never relaxing fashion.

I'm not sure I could even begin to guess how many times I've heard "Auld Lang Syne" in my life a hazard of being born a Scotsman I suppose yet I've never heard it as it is on Nightfall. In truth, as with most things in life, over familiarity breeds fatigue and even though Quercus make this universally known piece almost unrecognisable, my own personal baggage makes this and any version of it a struggle. The effect is much more beguiling on "You Don't Know What Love Is", the mood and atmosphere almost enveloping you as it rolls through the air. With a similar, but slightly more exuberant and strangely sea shanty-ish effect on "The Manchester Angel" and more traditional, if contained, jazz of "Emmeline", there's undoubtedly more than enough to capture the attention.

I can't hand on heart tell you that I'd often choose to sit down and listen to music as stark, restrained and wilfully uneventful as Nightfall. Yet it's impossible to deny the beauty bestowed into every note Quercus create.

Track Listing
1. Auld Lang Syne
2. Once I Loved You Dear (The Irish Girl)
3. On Berrow Sands
4. Christchurch
5. You Don't Know What Love Is
6. The Manchester Angel
7. Don't Think Twice It's Alright
8. Emmeline
9. The Shepherd And His Dog
10. The Cuckoo
11. Somewhere

Added: June 24th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Quercus at
Hits: 1195
Language: english

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