Featuring Steve Fishwick- Trumpet, Osian Roberts- Tenor Saxophone, Olivier Slama- Piano, Dave Chamberlain- Bass and Matt Fishwick- Drums.
Too Much! CD
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“With a label called 'Hard Bop Records', there's not much doubt about the style of music you're likely to hear, and this is indeed timeless stuff. But if they could be transported back to 1960s New York, this band would upset ideas about what it takes to be a born jazz musician. Roberts has a vigorous yet mellow tenor saxophone style, whilst Steve Fishwick's trumpet crackles with energy. Pianist Olivier Slama, drummer Matt Fishwick and Bassist Dave Chamberlain are equally impressive. There are other young bands playing in this genre but few with such panache.” - Dave Gelly - The Observer
“The Fishwick twins initial impact on record was with Mike Carr's Blue Note Band's 'Stephenson's Rocket' (Birdland). Since then they've received international recognition, thanks in part to Anita O'Day who took them to the States. Steve's front line partner with Carr was Canadian tenorist Steve Kaldestad. Here it's Welsh saxophonist Osian Roberts, who is probably better know in the Czech Republic than here in the UK. Their Quintet's conception is rooted in the (more Prestige than Blue Note) early Hard Bop days of the mid-50s. Roberts obviously idolises Rollins' output at that time and his solos here could easily cause a few red faces in a Blindfold Test! There's also, to these ears, an occasional influence of the underrated Lucky Thompson. But his sound is soulfully hard and his solos are full of emotion. Steve Fishwick is probably the more contemporary stylist of the two, but here his role is very much in the vein of the Donald Byrd of the 1950s. He's unquestionably one of the finest trumpeters we've ever had in this country. The originals could easily have been by Rollins, Silver or Timmons, with Roberts' title tune, 'Three Little Words', 'Waltz For Edith' and Steve's 'Roachville' among the most effective. Slama's piano owes much to Garland or Timmons and there's not (for a change) a trace of Tyner, Hancock or Jarrett. The closing slow extended themeless twelve bar, complete with opening Doug Watkins-style walking bass, could have come from any of Bob Weinstock's Friday afternoon sessions at Van Gelder's. This CD is a sincere labour of love with fine musicians paying tribute to the musicians that originally inspired them to get into jazz. Bet a live club date would be really exciting!” - Tony Hall - Jazzwise Magazine
“Trumpeter Fishwick attracts plaudits from many quarters. Listeners and musicians alike appreciate his poised linear improvisations, following the example of Hard Bop specialists like Bill Hardman or Lee Morgan. Now he's combined with Roberts, a no-nonsense tenor player of the Blue Note school, the labels name a tribute to their prefered jazz genre. Roberts and Fishwick both contribute originals, all stylistically appropriate, some Horace Silverish, including the title track and 'It's a Dunn Deal', named for recording engineer Richard Dunn. Bassist Dave Chamberlain, brother Matt Fishwick's neat percussion and Olivier Slama's Red Garland chording all contribute to the authentic feel. The leader's trumpet line dips and rises before Roberts' warm-toned but asservive solo on 'Blackout', the horns finally exchanging fours with the drums. Rhythmically assured, confidentley played and hugely pleasing, this is old music re-made by young men. And what's wrong with that?” - Peter Vacher - Jazz UK
“This is a debut recording for the band and for Hard Bop Records, so it's worth saying something about their ethos. Inspiration came from the independant record labels of the post war years. Roberts points out in his notes that many of these recorded bands as if at a gig, usually completing albums in one day without rehearsals. As indicated in my tribute to Jackie Mclean (JR76), some performers were unhappy with this method, but when it worked the results were fresh and immediate, and many listeners felt the sense of being there as it happened amply compensated for any rough edges. 'Too Much!' is a complete vindication of this approach. These days sponteneity and honesty is left almost entirely to small companies. As Roberts says, over production, heavy editing and the use of booths to reduce sound leakage, change the way a group interacts because musicians are denied eye contact and only hear colleagues through headphones. HBR set out to avoid these hindrances, and Roberts credits engineer Richard Dunn (dedicatee of 'It's a Dunn Deal') with re-capturing the virtues of the Van Gelder sound. If all this suggests the musicians are mere archaeologists, the bright, imaginitive playing on this album should quickly disabuse you of this idea. The Quintet originated in London in 1994 when Roberts and the Fishwick twins started a rehearsal band with some ex pat French musicians, including Slama, and steadily built an enviable reputation. The present members hane extensive, impressive CVs (The Fishwicks have been in Anita O'Day's regular group) and whilst its easy enough to spot influences, each of them has enough individuality to demonstrate that bop (after a precarious few years) is a living tradition. Fishwick S and Roberts blend nicely in the ensembles and both are agile, inventive soloists as well as fine composers and arrangers, responsible for all the numbers except, of course, the Gershwins' 'Someone To Watch Over Me'. Chamberlain is a well rounded, articulate soloist and accompianist. Slama works well with him, providing rich, supportive harmony, and contributes some juicy solos too. Fishwick M provides strong flexible underpinning. Salt of the jazz earth and highly enjoyable.” - Barry Witherdon - Jazz Review
“This record label (Hard Bop Records) has a brilliant concept. They like to record their musicians in an open environment, jusy like Rudy Van Gelder did back when Prestige and Blue Note were formidable purveyors of quality jazz. So you have the studio set up and engineers in place. Now all you need is a good band. Roberts and Fishwick's quintet fit the bill. They play hard bop in the same exciting manner that got us oldies parting with our money for those expensive US imports back when we were hip, or thought we were. The sound of the band is caught with startling clarity and the music just hammers home that dynamic Blue Note style. Crisp solos and vibrant rhythm. The tunes are all original except for Gershwin's 'Somebody To Watch Over Me' and they all have melodic themes and substance. Five hard bop masters that are a credit to jazz in the UK proving we are leading the world when it comes to the real thing.” - David Lands - Jazz Journal