The roots of this album go back fifteen years, when twin brothers Steve Fishwick (trumpet) and Matt Fishwick (drums) lived in an apartment next to that of Alex Garnett (alto sax), and regularly played and rehearsed in a piano-less rehearsal studio, with both Steve and Alex contributing tunes, which gradually took shape as they played together. Of course, the real roots go back a lot further than that – and there are plenty of clues on the record sleeve itself.
First, note that gorgeous, retro sleeve design that brings to mind one of the old Prestige Record labels from the late 1950s. Then the record label itself; Caerphilly-based it may be, but with a name like Hard Bop Records, you know what to expect. And the album delivers. Then there are song titles like the title track, which name checks Warne Marsh, and 52nd Street Dream, which is dedicated to Ronnie Scott, who founded the club back in 1959, after a visit to New York’s jazz clubs.
The album is available on vinyl only. Side one – how good does that sound? – begins with The Wrath Of Karn, and is dedicated to the New York-born bass player, Michael Karn. Steve Fishwick is the composer, and his Dorham influence shines through on the opening solo. The tune also features some frenetic drumming by his brother, Matt Fishwick.
Marshian Time Slip carries a double dedication to the aforementioned Warne Marsh and science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. The tune is again composed by Fishwick, but based on the chord changes to All The Things You Are – with three bars missing, hence the time slip reference. The two bandleaders play in unison as the tune opens, before Garnett comes in with a delightful, melodic solo.
The pace slows on 52nd Street Dream, a lovely ballad composed by the saxophonist, before Kaftan brings the first half to a close, with Garnett referencing his middle eastern ancestry.
Rio De Ron, or rum river, references both the Demerara River, and Garnett’s tipple of choice, and as the title suggests, there’s a nice flow to the tune, which features some fine playing by Karn. The bass player also open Primitis with a brief solo of his own. The ballad has a Miles Davis vibe, and was apparently inspired by a toy bear that belongs to the trumpet player’s son.
The Creep dates back to the original sessions, fifteen years ago. It was composed by Steve Fishwick, and was influenced by his hero, Kenny Dorham, but also the wonderful melodies of the prolific composer, Horace Silver. Lickeroo brings the album to a close, a fine slice of hard bop, based on the chord changes to Parker’s Cherokee.
Listen to some clips of the album here.
Marshian Time Slip is unapologetically retro – fabulous hard bop, served on a heavy, 180 gram vinyl platter, delivered by a top-notch band. With vinyl making a comeback, jazz fans should note that this is a limited edition album, with only 500 copies available. It is released on 15th March, and available from the label’s website, shown below. There’s a launch party at Kansas Smitty’s in London on March 20th, and the band will be on tour in the UK throughout March. Highly recommended.
Steve Fishwick - trumpet and flugelhorn
Alex Garnett - alto saxophone
Michael Karn - bass
Matt Fishwick - drums