Tom Millar Quartet: Unnatural Events

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The Tom Millar Quartet is modern, fast and busy. They’re low on melody but there’s lots going on, and it’s more about the overall vibe, which is laid back.

Millar said in an interview of his debut album as a leader that he “went on a musical journey”, taking in Brazilian and world music, as well as gospel and rock, all played as contemporary jazz.

It all sounds meticulously planned and executed, and the playing standard is high: his band, Alex Munk (guitar), Misha Mullov-Abbado (bass) and Mike Clowes (drums), play fast and tight, with plenty of solos. Although it is fast, it’s also chilled, and there’s a lot of the late night about it.

Opener Azura Days is pretty much all you need to hear, with a tidy solo from Munk followed by Millar’s impressively fast but neat piano. The song was inspired by a trip round the Med.

The Seafarer, which is eight minutes long, starts off with just Mullov-Abbado; Millar tried to start from different points in writing songs, and a couple start with bass. It’s reportedly a take on The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, so there’s piano sounding like a restless sea and a more laidback feel than the opener, although all the players are kept busy.

The title track features an increasingly famous sitar solo: Munk found an electric sitar lying around the studio and insisted on it appearing on the album, to memorable effect, though his regular guitar solos are more effective.

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