An intriguing success.
Colin Buttimer 2009
The appearance of veteran English artists Keith and Julie Tippett makes producer Benedic Lamdin's Nostalgia 77 Sessions an interesting prospect, with much of that promise realised over the album's 14 songs. The music covers the ground between blues, soul and jazz, but it's the left turns taken by the two stars that make it such an intriguing success.
Most immediately ear-catching is the brilliant piano solo taken by Keith Tippett on opener You Don't Just Dream When You Sleep. It's a real sit-up-and-notice experience that takes the music in a new, unexpected direction reminiscent of what may be Tippett's best known performance, his crucial contribution to King Crimson's Cat Food. Beginning with Julie Tippett's soul/blues-inflected vocals and Riaan Vosloo's rich bass tones, Keith steps in after a couple of minutes with slow single notes that spread out into a vigorous middle passage echoed in the outro.
Also remarkable is the strikingly mellifluous free passage that concludes the initially jazzy Sketch For Gary/Billy Goes To Town. It's an approach that finds its echo in the contemplative Lapis Blue, but instead of good-natured angularity, Julie Tippett sings gently into silence. Soothing The Rattlesnake sounds like it might do just that with keening and cooing accompanied by sparse, long-held notes on piano and bass. The group create a magical space that's both eery and strangely inviting. These sessions are notable for the balance they achieve between melody and freedom and the unexpected, but natural way in which one develops from the other.