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Tim Whitehead: Colour Beginnings – review


You don't need to know that UK saxophonist Tim Whitehead has been a fan of Turner's paintings since he found himself crying in front of one many years back. Nor that injury in 2006 gave him the time to ponder a musical tribute to the painter. Nor even that this project made him the first musician to be an artist in residence at Tate Britain. No, Whitehead's music always stands on its own feet. His bands are consistently fine examples of attractively song-rooted composing and cutting-edge postbop improv, and his collaborations with Liam Noble inspire some of the gifted pianist's most memorable recorded playing. But the triggers here are transcribed from Whitehead's original solo improvisations recorded while viewing Turner's work – particularly the painter's fastest and most intuitive sketches and watercolours. Some of the music unfolds in twisting, long-lined themes, some in softly exhaled solo-sax reveries; there are skittish dancing melodies and speculative group conversations that suggest Wayne Shorter's musings. Noble often echoes Whitehead or plays in unison – and, like all the performers, he plays as deeply inside these pieces as if he were as personally involved as their originator.

Rating: 4/5 © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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