Some large ensemble recordings blast the listener with an endless complexity of sounds. On Glimpses of Truth, Ivo Neame instead arranges the light and shade, the full and the sparse in seven tracks that feature some of the greats of today’s UK jazz scene.
Neame’s complex arrangements and nevertheless appealing and totally engaging. Well known as a hugely talented pianist, he composed, multi-tracked - including playing all the tutti sax lines - videoed, mixed and mastered remotely over the pandemic to demonstrate his command of the large ensemble format.
“We’re always struggling with the real truth of anything,” Neame says, explaining the album’s title. “People talk about how we’re in a post-truth world – this album is my interpretation of that.” The release emerges into a post-Trump landscape abounding with conspiracy theorists who fully embrace their own truths. “But a lot of the time, it’s very murky – that’s why I call it ‘glimpses’. These days, it’s ‘this is my truth, that’s your truth’, it’s all very vague because the world is so chaotic.”
Each track breaks itself down and builds itself up, both structurally and rhythmically. The fact that (apparently) 12 million Americans believe we’re all being controlled by reptiles led Neame to write The Rise of the Lizard People - a track which would likely confuse most of those 12 million.
That opening track is followed deftly by Strega, which uses the paired drums of James Maddren and Jon Scott and Neame has set the tone for this complete album that is both racing and considered at the same time.
Watch the video for Strega here:
Alongside Maddren and Scott, Neame employs some of the finest UK jazz musicians - Nathaniel Facey, Ingrid Jensen, Gilad Hekselman, Noel Langley, Jason Yarde, Trevor Mires, Gareth Lockrane, Tom Farmer, Jim Hart and George Crowley.
As pandemic output goes, this is a fine piece of work that shows Neame’s own talents and those of his fellow musicians but also demonstrates the colossal future of UK jazz. If these dark times can produce such brilliance, who knows what comes next?