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Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Saturday, 29 July 2017 16:17

David Dower and Matt Fisher - The Fieldgate Sessions

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The music here shows very clearly the pair's interactive style and they make difficult music sound easy with a sense of genuine enjoyment.

Well, with The Fieldgate Sessions David Dower and Matt Fisher are back with an EP which continues where The Frog, The Fish and The Whale left off. After the success of the duo's debut album, Matt and David ventured to Cardiff to record live videos of three songs in the renowned Fieldgate Studios and this EP is the result. Three tracks of interesting and quirky piano led  compositions, backed by Matt Fisher's intricate and deft drumming.

Track one on the EP is Jimmy's On The Dance Floor, and contains a lot of fancy footwork from the pair. From the stomping piano chords of the opening, through a section which is floaty and rhythmic patterns change and swirl, to a quieter, delicate section where the deep notes announce another change in structure and not even the half way mark. The track continues to develop with rills, riffs and trills from piano backed by the stalwart rhythm provided by the drums of Matt Fisher. An interesting 5 beats to 4 section briefly surfaces before some nifty drum riffs take us off and then we are back to the theme and some deeply disturbing chords (in a good way) to finish.

Mr Trout begins with the familiar quirky, slightly off-beat chords from David Dower and develops a theme which is backed up with solid percussion, fading and flowing as the piano leads. Crystal clear intonation and lots of differing rhythmic patterns conjure up images of water, fish and maybe Mr Trout just doing his thing to the sounds of the river. Near the half way mark, the drums are allowed freer rein and Matt Fisher makes full use of the moments allowed to deliver some thinking rhythms, under which the piano supports.  A track full of movement, changes and  interest, from full throttle nuttiness to gentle, swirling, flowing noise. The final third sounds just like water trickling over stones with the combination of gentle piano and percussion. Underpinning it all is a four note motif which Dower introduces and repeats on the piano in various rhythms, timings and levels. Clever and rather beautiful. 

The third track is The Frog, The Fish and The Whale - the title track from their last release, this time recorded live and is still the same, slightly insane but beautifully crafted number, made by the changing percussive rhythms and the use of a familiar refrain repeated with changes, alterations in rhythm, from swung beat to intricate, tricky little deviations and the light fingered touch which is becoming David Dower's trademark. A great track to finish the EP. 

The music here shows very clearly the pair's interactive style and they make difficult music sound easy with a sense of genuine enjoyment. Even the 15/8 sections are delivered with little effort. 

This EP is short, sweet and perfectly crafted. 


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