Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Excellent review of Closer to You by Trevor Watts' Amalgam in RnR by Andrew Darlington

At first glance, co-producer Keith Beal's dripping, dribbling cover art is a messy colourful abstraction, until, the more you look, the more it assumes human form and expression.
Amalgam is a similar concoction. Alto-man Trevor Watts was a vital ingredient in free-jazz Spontaneous Music Ensemble, collectively exploring the outer limits of improvisation with John Stevens.
Long-time Melody Maker favourites, the various line-ups of his more accessible side-project, Amalgam, also produced a series of fine albums, led by Prayer for Peace in 1969. By the time of this 1978 set, originally issued on cult Ogun label, they'd pared down to a power trio.
From the dizzying blizzard that Trevor's staccato sax soars and dances across the sharp attacking jazz-fusion rhythm interactions of bassist Colin McKenzie and Liam Genockey's precise drum-pulse, on opener 'De Dublin Ting', we're into the slower, more considered, three way conversation 'South of Nowhere', before nodding to Roland Kirk on the full-eerie, almost-twenty-minute original vinyl second side.
Although abstract in its compressed flaring fold-ins, overlapping telepathic trick-trips, internal squiggles and wrangling dynamics, repeated playing reveals its intensely human form and expression. Now, the four original tracks' playing-time is near-doubled by a wealth of archive bonus cuts.

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