Alex Hitchcock: All Good Things

review hitchcock x1 cong

This is one of those albums that’s hard to write about because you’re so into its meaty and interesting sound (and want to use words like hep and cats) that you can never write anything down.

If you Google Hitchcock, he’s a man who loves his jazz, whether playing it or supporting other bands, and he plays in a number of bands himself.

This album is a modern take on bop (not quite hard bop), and if you want an overall impression, reminded us of a 70s cop film, probably starring John Wayne, the jazz used to suggest both grittiness but also a cosmopolitan air. There are more modern moments, although it maintains its gritty air.

First track is Hamburg 2010, a swirling track in many places but with a late night tenor sax solo. Mobius is next, and more focussed from the opening bass note. Hitchcock and James Copus on trumpet play both together and alternately.

We like Adjective Animal, which starts off slowly with piano and bass and brushed percussion, before more rock-style drums comes in, followed by a long and impressive sax solo that possibly takes in several eras of jazz playing, before it all changes again to go late night with some delicate keyboard and an impression of footsteps — the animal maybe? All these changes sound natural: “Well yes of course the song needs animal footsteps here.”

A38 was inspired not by a trip from Lickey End to Longbridge but a boat, and there’s a buoyant solo from Joe Downard bassist, someone quietly vocalising along with the bass.

Sorry Not Sorry is another standout, not least because, aside from everything else, it’s played so fast. The opening is slow, bouncing bass and percussion holding up the brass and some odd noises on the synth before some tasty soloing, bebop and hard bop, Jay Davis on drums quietly enjoying a heavy work-out out in the background.

You can either like or dislike this (though you’d be mad if you made the latter choice), but either way there’s no doubting these are world class players (Will Barry on piano is the one we’ve not mentioned).

Fans of bop / hard bop who’d relish a modern take on the sound will like this; think Miles Davis if you don’t know all the genres.

This is out now on the Fresh Sound New Talent label.

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