Ben Haskins Quartet - Twenty Twenty / Laid Up (Single Review)
Leeds-based jazz guitarist Ben Haskins and his quartet release a double single on HPBC Records, 'Twenty Twenty / Laid Up'.
The quartet, which features members of Wandering Monster, Slow Loris, Jasmine and K.O.G & The Zongo Brigade, came together through jam nights, mutual projects and love for improvised music. After a successful first gig at Hyde Park Book Club in 2019, the group has regularly gigged across the North, leading to their first release Candescence.
Having received airplay on Jazz FM and Worldwide FM, both of these new tracks present a fantastic interplay between all the musicians that leads to sweeping improvisations. 'Twenty Twenty' has a bluesy croon to it which starts as ambient jazz with Owen Burns leading with sensitive bass grooves that drive the emotions out of the rest of the quartet instruments. The song falls into a huge ending that reflects the dichotomy of hope and frustration felt by people last year with lockdown; Ben Powling's tenor saxophone solo is honed to show this despair of musicians being deprived of their livelihood.
The open, melodic compositions draw influence from jazz scenes on both sides of the Atlantic, taking inspiration from John Coltrane, Shabaka Hutchings, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Guiliana, and Bill Frisell. 'Laid Up' has a propulsive 5/4 energy to it as the groove leaves space for drummer Theo Goss to weave between soft ghost note touches in Haskins deft guitar solo to hard stabs cutting through the Powling's fiery sax solo.
Ben Haskins compositions are breathtaking and his guitar motifs allow natural improvisation to move fluidly around the tight, grooving rhythms. Another great release out from Leeds and the Hyde Park Book Club Records scene.
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