Warwick Alder is a remarkable trumpet player. A remarkable musician. But he does not put sheer ability in your face. It's the music always. To say that Alder is versatile is almost to devalue the authority, felicity and taste he brings to every situation in which he is asked to play. He has appeared on a diverse range of recordings under other leaders, but until now has made no recording of his own.
Here is Warwick Alder leading his own band with musicians who are his close friends and who are in accord with his musical thinking. Six compositions are his own. It is Warwick Alder playing the lead lines with that burnished tone, sometimes softly shining, sometimes singing high above the harmonies. The tone is silvery in all registers and at all levels of volume. I will single out two tracks: the moody, lyrical Brendance and the bluesy, surging Helen Of Troy. His solos on these combine many elements - melodic invention, bright, boppy, percussive lines that he does better than anyone, high flares and whips, sobbing choked trills and, on the title track, a startling low growl. Yet these are real compositions in real time - thoughtful, dramatic, shaped.
For me these already have the feeling of celebrated performances I've lived with for many years. They are that good.
Note Alder's beautiful time, which allows him to sail across as well as run with the superb rhythm section on the fast pieces. Note Alder's beautiful ballads and their sublime execution. Note his deep appreciation of the idiom of Thelonious Monk on Hackensack. Likewise Fats Navarro on a punning dedication. Also the exhilirating chromatic race on his Chromania, which includes a hint of the old Batman TV theme (which was prefigured in turn by a Thelonious Monk composition in the early 1950s).
Warwick Alder is in some ways a conservative man - a cricket lover, a golfer - but he can speak of Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane in the same tones. Both players reach the heart. Conservative perhaps, but with a subversive sense of humour, and under it all a lot of soul. That is apparent whenever he plays.
released April 2, 2010
Warwick Alder trumpet, flugelhorn
Dave Jackson alto sax
Jonathan Harkins piano
Brendan Clarke acoustic bass
Andrew Dickeson drums
Recorded at Tapitallee West Studio, Kangaroo Valley, 19, 20 February 2008
Mastered by John Morrison
Produced by Warwick Alder
Painting by Joseph Marr
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