Tom Barlow – Jazzwise
More downtown New York than south east London , Oriole proves how open minded young British based improvisers are these days. As you’d expect from members of the fire collective, guitarist Jonny Phillips outfit includes artistry and adventurism in there vision of jazz, yet Oriole ultimately displays more lyrical and worldly traits than its contemporaries.
Indeed, Song for the Sleeping feels more rooted in folk than jazz. It explores the musical connections established by the slave triad, veering from the mellow Lament, a meeting between Venezuelan rhythms and English impressionism, to the West African soaked Eyes of a Blue Dog and other melodic dedications to tango, bolero, and Gabriel Garcia Marques. Rather than blazing guitar solos, Phillips prefers to contribute down-tempo almost filmic compositions marked by strong soloing from saxophonist Rob Leak and guest such as keyboard player Nick Ramm and Idris Rahman on clarinet. Songs count more than solos, yet the musical contributions of Seb Rochford and cellist Ben Davis are hard to ignore. Likewise the plaintive singing of Julia Biel which fits perfectly into Phillips’ beguiling world.