Andrew McCormack: Graviton

review graviton x1 cong

Nominally jazz, if only for the instruments used, this ambitious album takes in everything from prog to bop.

On his website McCormack explains that gravitons are tiny particles that carry the force of gravity. “It is what brings you back down to Earth when you jump,” he says, though how this applies to the album is left a mystery. “I like the name,” would have made it clearer.

It’s less jazz than rock, the four-four beat more of an influence than the blues roots of more traditional sound, though time changes are many and varied; the players give away the sound, including Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings and Marius Neset’s Anton Eger. (Eska, Mercury prize nominee, adds vocals). We thought Sons of Kemet were pretty damned good, but McCormack is a step up: the playing is fast and furious while always under control.

Opener Breathe is fast and frenetic and similar to the jazz-fusion/rock of people like Barbara Thompson, with some cool scat singing. Eger’s drums are impressively fast, while Rob Mullarkey lays down some fat bass; there’s tension between the far-out jazz of the vocals and sax (Josh Arcoleo) and the funkier bass.

It’s full bore throughout, McCormack apparently not being a man who likes to take it easy. The sound does not vary a whole lot but it’s bursting with ideas, though very much with a live feel. It’s all very meaty.

If there has to be criticism, it lacks soul — the band is going for the technical; there’s nothing much to touch the heart and it’s mostly way too fast and complex for toe-tapping. Impressive stuff, though.

Out on Jazz Village, JV550004.


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