Kevin Figes Quartet: Changing Times review – constantly fascinating

(Pig Records)
The multi-instrumentalist’s latest quartet recording is a mind-expanding feast for the ears

I didn’t think I was going to like this album at first, when greeted by the strains of an electronic sequencer. But this faded into a beautifully played flute solo. Then came some wordless chanting by two mysterious voices, leading to a horror-movie climax. As one piece followed another, the flute returned, this time apparently in an underground cavern. There were saxophones – baritone, alto and soprano, all impressively well played, and atmospheres, rhythms and textures that were constantly changing. It was fascinating. Even the bits that I couldn’t make head nor tail of were clearly the work of superb musicians.

Kevin Figes, who played all the saxophones, the flute and was one of the singing voices, composed all eight pieces. His first teacher was Elton Dea, saxophonist with the Soft Machine, who no doubt influenced his open attitude to music in general. The band is completed by Jim Blomfield on keyboards, bassist Thad Kelly, drummer Mark Whitlam and singer Emily Wright. I’m still intrigued by this music, even though parts continue to pass me by. Anyway, it does you good to stretch the ears from time to time.

Continue reading…