Paul Grabowsky Sextet
| The Bitter Suite | ABC 377 1278
Just as the album’s title is both dark and punning, so the music is in a constant flux of what, were it writing, we would call ‘tone’. Paul Grabowsky can create a pastiche of an idiom out of which a deep truth will grow in the improvising, while a more solemn-sounding piece spawns sly asides and dramatic jolts from the players, or perhaps contains an unexpectedly curdled harmony. The pianist has assembled Jamie Oehlers (tenor), Andrew Robson (alto and soprano), James Greening (trombone), Cameron Undy (bass) and Simon Barker (drums): all highly distinctive players, so he can provide outlines knowing abundant colour shall be added, or be very specific, knowing the collective humanity will outweigh the complexity. All these players are natural risk-takers, so the solos come flaring off the surface of the compositions.