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Dave Buxton Trio Mode Swings Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

...Buxton with his regular trio with the first release on his own label.

Lara Bellini 2004

After five years with saxophonist Andy Sheppard, pianist Dave Buxton goes solo once more.For this album he brings back together the ex-Sheppard duo of Pete Maxfield on double-bass and Simon Gore on drums. The trio embark on an exploration of styles, with an elegant approach to narrativethat's both harmonically intelligent and richly expressive.

The writing is extremely pensive, and the music breathes as a result The trio's ability to attentively listen to each other is evidence of their solid history as an ensemble: a sense of unity that defines the entire album.

Delicacy and stamina share the same room in the opening "Jazzle", with Maxfield's double bassgiving solid support. It's an imaginative display of rhythmical openness and harmonic subtlety (it's a very good move to choose this as the opener).

The following ballad"See-Saw"has a harmonic delicacy which sums up the poetic, lyrical feel thatBuxton excels at, whilea soulful and engaging blend of styles informs "Highland Sting".

When exploring genres other than jazz though, the project weakens a little. The unbounded, unrestrained passion of the tango is nowhere to be seen in the fabulously clean performance of "I've Been Tangoed", which as a result comes out a little bit rigid, frozen and over-delicate. Likewise "Reds, Yellows and Blues" sounds equally tight and flat,without being rhythmically engaging.

Like Liam Noble's group efforts, Buxton's writingfavours tight harmonicstructuresabove rhythmical complexity and improvisational chance. Despite its occasional failings, it's a cerebral, poetic record which repays careful listening.

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