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Rue victor masse by Ray Warleigh

Since relocating from Australia to England in 1960, woodwind ace Ray Warleigh carved out a busy career as an in-demand session artiste amid storied support roles with legendary rocker Nick Drake and others. And his credentials are too numerous in scope to cite here, although this duo outing with estimable progressive-jazz/improvisation drummer Tony Marsh signifies the saxophonist’s first solo endeavor in forty-years.

Per Richard Williams’ insightful liners, Warleigh’s previous album consisted of "a quite lavishly arranged recital of superior pop material from the late ‘60s." Contrarily, this session is steeped within improvisation and conveys his jazzier proclivities, perhaps hearkening back to his performances with Brit progressive-jazz pioneers, Henry Lowther, John Stevens and others of note.

The duo’s synergy and common goals resound mightily here. Featuring Warleigh’s lyrically resplendent sax and flute lines, in concert with a crystalline audio sound, the musicians flex some muscle amid buoyant underpinnings. No doubt, Marsh is a powerhouse via his polyrhythmic cadences and sympathetic accents to Warleigh’s supple flute choruses and ascending alto sax flurries. They often instill a sense of yearning via their hustling and bustling free-bop maneuvers and amalgamation of mini-themes stitched together.

On "The Other Side," Marsh’s toms and cymbals work serve as a pliant backdrop for Warleigh’s introspective flute lines. Then Warleigh hits a few sweet spots with his warmhearted alto sax phrasings during the piece titled "I Fall In Love Too Easy." However, the musicians’ divergent approach comes to fruition once again with their avant, African rhythmical workout on "For Flute And Percussion." Overall, it’s a persuasive session that courts and skirts various musical frontiers, all firmly entrenched within the artists' on-the-fly initiated manifesto.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ray Warleigh
  • CD Title: Rue victor masse
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Unknown
  • Musicians: Ray Warleigh (alto saxophone & flute), Tony Marsh (percussion)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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