Clowes: And in the night-time she is there (Basho Records, 2012)
Clowes (saxophone), Chris Montague (guitar), Gwilym Simcock (piano), Calum Gourlay
(bass), James Maddren (drums), Thomas Gould (violin), Thea Spiers (violin II),
Adam Robinson (viola), Louise McMonagle (cello – nonet tracks), Heidi Parsons
(cello – small band tracks), Kathleen Willison (vocals)
title of the UK saxophonist and composer Clowes' second album is from Oscar Wilde's
poem The Sphinx, sung here by Kathleen Willison. With 2010's Tangent, Clowes unveiled
a personal angle on jazz-classical crossovers that let jazz musicians and improv-minded
classical players, including young violin star Thomas Gould, freely roam. The
largest ensemble here is a ninepiece, rather than Tangent's full orchestra, but
the venture goes confidently further."
the tracks that make this album truly remarkable are those with the string quartet
plus guest pianist Gwilym Simcock completing a nonet. Central to the album is
Iris Nonet, a three-part suite dedicated to Clowes’ late grandmother, on which
the strings do not play a score but improvise an accompaniment. This gives the
piece an edginess and freshness far removed from many jazz-plus-strings collaborations."
Music, John Eyles
to her grandmother, the three-movement "Iris Nonet" sees Clowes exploring the
larger textural palette offered when her own quartet - drummer James Maddren,
Troyka guitarist Chris Montague and bassist Calum Gourlay - is joined by star
pianist Gwilym Simcock and an improvising string quartet led by violinist (and
leader of the Aurora Orchestra and Britten Sinfonia), Thomas Gould. Powerful,
lyrical and with a sound-world that ranges from the austere to the ecstatic, this
proves to be incredibly fertile ground for the composer."
Arts Desk, Peter Quinn
expands the ensemble to a nonet with the addition of Simcock at the piano and
the string quartet led by violin virtuoso Gould. Clowes is keen to stress the
improvising credentials of the string players and there’s definitely a more integrated
feel here than on the orchestral arrangements of the previous album. The interlocking
colours and textures of “Animator” are particularly engrossing with Gould and
Simcock making particularly strong contributions."
Jazz Mann, Ian Mann