Ben Crosland Quintet: The Ray Davies Songbook Volume ll
Noted jazz critic Dave Gelly, writing in The Observer, said: “Ray Davies’ tunes – evocative, catchy and deceptively simple – serve his lyrics so well it is easy to take them for granted. By recasting them in the jazz idiom and delicately elaborating their harmonies, bassist and composer Ben Crosland brings them out in a fresh hue.” That was the introduction to his four-star review to the Crosland Quintet’s Ray Davies Songbook CD, released following acclaimed performances of The Kinks’ songwriter’s canon first at the Marsden Jazz Festival in Yorkshire and then on the road. Such was the response to the CD and the live shows that Crosland embarked on the Songbook Volume ll, which again was debuted at Marsden with the recording released in April. Ben brings the nucleus of his world-class group to close the jazz week at HF19: keyboard master Steve Lodder, who has a long working relationship with saxophonist Andy Sheppard, and guitar giant John Etheridge, who needs little by way of introduction. Augmenting them will be Australian sax man Brandon Allen, whose stellar musical credits include Eric Clapton, Mica Paris, Neil Diamond and Paloma Faith just for starters, and top drummer Dylan Howe, son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe and regular skins man in the Wilko Johnson Band, sideman for a host of stars such as Ian Dury and the Blockheads, David Gilmour, Nick Cave and Damon Albarn, and leader of his own long-standing jazz group whose last CD Subterranean – New Designs On Bowie’s Berlin (also featuring Brandon Allen) was described as “top notch” by the Thin White Duke himself. “It’s remarkable how comfortable these melodies sound in their new setting,” Gelly concludes of the Quintet’s Davies interpretations.