Nigel Price Organ Trio – Heads & Tales, Vol. 2 (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:51:01 minutes | 1,1 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Whirlwind Recordings
Recorded at Konk Studios, London, June 28/29, 2016
British guitarist and composer Nigel Price follows up his Heads & Tales released in 2011 with this double album, rooted in the blues and hard bop traditions, echoing the fluidity of the likes of Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery and Louis Stewart. On the first part, Price revels in his collaboration with Hammond organist Ross Stanley and drummer Matt Home. He is also joined by saxophonists Alex Garnett and Vasilis Xenopoulos on a number of tracks, adding further weight and dynamism to the guitarist’s material. The second session, intimately recorded entirely as solo guitar performances or duo overdubs, pulls into even sharper focus the demanding intricacies of Price’s varied technique.
“It means the world to me to play great music with these guys, to be able to make it happen and to get it out there to the people. That’s what really matters to me.” –Nigel Price
Nigel Price’s second volume of Heads & Tales is, quite literally, a game of two halves. As with the first volume, released in 2011, it incorporates two CDs each containing different versions of standards. The first disc, where Price is accompanied by Matt Home on drums and Ross Stanley on Hammond organ, plus guest saxophonists Alex Garnett and Vasilis Xenopoulos, utilises the same device as on the first volume. The standards are given new heads and titles but follow the same or similar underlying structures as the originals. The second disc comprises more faithful interpretations of the standards but here Price plays solo guitar, mostly accompanied by double tracked guitar (“Come Rain Or Come Shine” is a single guitar solo exception).
This straight ahead, hard bop influenced set belies Price’s history as a member of both the acid jazz James Taylor Quartet and the funky jazz band known collectively as The Filthy Six. But Price, influenced by the likes of Wes Montgomery and George Benson is unquestionably a terrific jazz guitarist as this album attests.
The main point of the album and its predecessor is the way in which a standard can be played with a different melody and then separately given a more conventional treatment too, so it really does become a two-for-one album. Price also rechristens titles with typical dry humour so Gigi Gryce’s “Minority” becomes “Majority,” Harold Arlen’s “Come Rain Or Come Shine” becomes “Wet & Dry” and Frank Loesser’s “Slow Boat to China” is transmuted into “Junk” (a Chinese boat!)
On the first disc (Heads) the unrestrained ebullience of the opener “Blue Genes” (a version of Duke Pearson’s “Jeannine”) is immediately apparent and fixes in the memory like glue. But Price’s talent also extends to consummate blues playing too as evidenced on the sultry “Smokescape” (a version of Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue”) and the breezier “Fragment Of Blues.” The only anomaly on the album is Jimmy Raney’s “Parker 51” which remains in its original arrangement.
On the solo disc (Tales), the numbers are performed with crystalline precision and sensitivity. Take for example, Horace Silver’s “Peace,” where Price comes close to emulating such great jazz guitarists as Joe Pass and Tal Farlow, or Ray Noble’s “Cherokee,” on which Raney’s “Parker 51” was based.
One interesting aspect of Price’s playing is his unadulterated guitar tone (for guitarists, he’s playing a D’Angelico NYL-5) which utilises no effects pedals, (in an excellent 2012 interview for the Huffington Post, Price referred to these as “talent boosters”). Indeed the tone and to some extent the style Price obtains on “Up And Out” is not unlike that found on John McLaughlin’s 1969 debut album Extrapolation, but Price still retains his own characteristically pure and punchy style. In truth it’s fair to say that Nigel Price is probably the most dynamic and gifted guitarist on the British jazz scene today and this is the proof. –Roger Farbey, All About Jazz
1 Blue Genes 07:55
2 Wet & Dry 06:08
3 Up and Out 06:24
4 Parker 51 07:30
5 War 06:20
6 R&R 06:07
7 Majority 06:43
8 Junk 05:49
9 Smokescape 08:44
10 Cherokee 06:18
11 Have You Met Miss Jones 05:05
12 Jeannine 05:43
13 Peace 04:20
14 Come Rain or Come Shine 05:52
15 Minority 04:53
16 Fragment of Blues 05:00
17 Slow Boat to China 05:24
18 Midnight Blue 06:37
Nigel Price, guitar
Matt Home, drums
Ross Stanley, Hammond organ
Alex Garnett, alto & tenor saxophone
Vasilis Xenopoulos, tenor saxophone