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Pete Judge: Piano 2

Kicking sand in the face of under-achievers everywhere is Pete Judge, a professional trumpet player with the jazz / rock quartet Get The Blessing, but who can play more than one instrument, in this case the piano; this is a collection of tunes he wrote for another band he’s in, Three Cane Whale.

It’s a nice album. Lightweight is too cruel a word for it but it’s not demanding. There are no weird time changes and it’s more ambient than anything else, either ambient classical piano or ambient piano jazz. It makes for lovely background music.

It’s all pretty much the same and the song titles suggest nature was an inspiration. The opener is West-Running Brook, in which the piano ripples as expected (though it could equally have been called Sun Dappled Bank, it’s not especially aquatic in feel).

Stonecrop is next, our favourite title, fans of geology as we are, and it’s suggestive of sitting up on a rocky crag on a sunny day (though again, it could equally have been called Sun Dappled Rock), the piano less rippling and more deliberate, perhaps suggestive of the time it takes rock to form.

It Pains The Lips To Think Of Bugles is not a diss towards buglers from a trumpeter but a poem about war: “Oh, the flute it tells of parting, and all things sweet and sad / And the gay guitar of frolic, and song and laughter glad / But the bugle tells of daring, of chargers’ champ and neigh” wrote David Jones, who served in WWI and reflects on the emotions stirred by bugles and the fact that one day a man will lie injured in the mud and be unable to answer its call. A more sombre piece but again, if we said it was called Sun Dappled Moorland it would create images of bleak moors and bleaker ponies.

There are some livelier tracks: Cruc stirs from the ambient to almost having a melody and it reaches out to the listener in a way the gentler pieces do not, the sound of a much-loved television show starting a new season. Brute Angels continues this livelier feel and it reminds us of something, although too insubstantial to put a finger on it.

Elsewhere is Purr, presumably for a cat, while Wheatfield With Crows is as rippling as the opening track, though more suggestive of air than water.

This is available from petejudgemusic.com

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