GRAHAM COLLIER — Songs for My Father

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GRAHAM COLLIER - Songs for My Father cover
3.83 | 3 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1970

Tracklist

A1 Song One (Seven-Four)
A2 Song Two (Ballad)
A3 Song Three (Nine-Eight Blues)
B1 Song Four (Waltz In Four-Four)
B2 Song Five (Rubato)
B3 Song Six (Dirge)
B4 Song Seven (Four-Four Figured)

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Graham Collier
Drums – John Webb
Guitar – Philip Lee (tracks: A1, B4)
Piano – John Taylor
Saxophone [Tenor] – Alan Skidmore (tracks: A1, B2, B4), Tony Roberts (tracks: A1, B2, B4)
Saxophone [Tenor], Saxophone [Alto] – Bob Sydor
Saxophone [Tenor], Saxophone [Soprano] – Alan Wakeman
Trombone – Derek Wadsworth (tracks: A1, A2, A3, B4)
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Harry Beckett

About this release

Fontana – 6309 006 (UK)

Recorded in London, England, 1970

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition and snobb for the updates

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GRAHAM COLLIER SONGS FOR MY FATHER reviews

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Sean Trane
After the superb Down Another Road, some of the protagonists had now flown the nest and are busy building their own Nucleus and Collier named his project as Graham Collier Music, since it varied too much to make a change every time it did. Actually, there is hardly anyone from the previous sextet present on the songs, but the list of participants remains quite impressive anyway. Indeed the front artwork mentions guitarist Phil Lee and tenor saxman Alan Skidmore, but they’re present only on two tracks and also for Wadsworth, only present on a different two. Some seven songs (they’re numbered 1 to 7) all tied-up, some with irregular beats and tricky time sigs, something that might have been probably unappreciated by his own dad (I wouldn’t know for his, but I know mine would’ve hated them).

The opening Seven-Four song is a great upbeat tune, taking Down much from Another previous Road, but installing a little added value (guitar), with Taylor’s piano playing wonder, while the following Ballad takes the same riff (or so it seems), but slowed-down. After that Ballad glided effortlessly into the upbeat piano-lead Nine-Eight Blues (probably my least fave of the album, but it’s still quite excellent), where Beckett’s trumpets-up a storm over a difficult beat and everyone follows suit (so it seems), effortlessly.

The flipside opens on a Waltz In Four-Four, a weird un-danceable thing that breaks apart after some 30 seconds to kick-starts itself later in a rapid upbeat vehicle, racing down the school street at 100 MPH. Insane stuff, really; but it’s a bit too bad for the drum solo (not my thing), even if short. The waltz segues in Rubato, but somehow the themes are succeeding with out changing much apart from veering dissonant in the improvisation and dying off slow. Dirge actually takes from there and gradually (read slowly) crescendoes with Beckett’s trumpet and, later, Wakeman’s sax grow from intense to glowingly red with Webb’s interesting drumming, much reminiscent of John Marshall. The closing 4/4 Figured takes over with Taylor’s piano before Dirge has a time to reach mid-tempo, but despite the added reinforcement troops, it fails to recapture the outstanding spirit of the opening track, as Phil Lee’s guitar is too discrete for my tastes. Still quite worthy an ending, though.

Collier’s third (fourth) solo album is another cool touchdown scored on a local scene that was won-over by the first two beauties achieved earlier. Collier is the confirmation that a contrabassist (after the immense Mingus) could make awesome composers, while never abusing of their instrument’s presence in the final results. While SFMF might lack the absolute genius of Darius or its preceding Another Road, it’s still quite a must-hear in post-bop jazz.

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