This is a quintessentially English type of treasure.
St.John de-Zilva 2008
This is the second LP from Tom Cawley's trio of progressive jazz merlins. An unusual yet engrossing encounter pulsating with quirkiness that gels instinctively between the three. The BBC Jazz band of the year deliver something wistful, absorbing, relaxing and challenging all at the same time.
Cleverly written, the LP seems to evolve as a whole composition, with one track starting where the other leaves off. Take Roebuck into Song For Greta, or Closer into Curious. This continuous programme makes for a beautiful unity.
Though he's the sole writer here, keyboardist Tom Cawley (of Acoustic Ladyland renown) gives the rhythm section of Burgess and Blackmore clear room to manoeuvre and explore. Intuitively they swap roles. Curious shows off Cawley's technical fluidity with Burgess adding his own twist on the groove and getting a lot of mileage out one idea. Linked with Closer you appreciate that these tunes form the spine of the album.
Yet the album has many sides. There are the tender forays into daydream-like ballads like Trackside View: it encapsulates a bitter sweetness, with Burgess' melancholic, cello-like playing giving willowy held notes. You can almost forgive them their vocals as they search for that added texture. Again, working in tandem with Roebuck, it really allows the listener to follow the flow of the trio and the resonance of each instrument as Blackmore tickles and shimmers the cymbals. The understated funk in Bradford is just fine. Cawley's chord groove unleashes Blackmore and Burgess into Headhunter territory.
An album of great subtlety and nuance, we are reminded with Truce that this is a quintessentially English type of treasure: measured, bright yet delightful and verging on the experimental. Well recommended.