Disturbed Nature reviews:
Allaboutjazz: If Disturbed Nature‘s nature isn’t quite as disturbed as advertised, it’s still a bit unsettled much of the time on Meerkat Parade’s second recording, and always in interesting ways. Guitarist David Series has a knack for spinning pieces just a little off-kilter, as is evident from the outset. “Nostalgia” coasts on a slinky zoot-suit-noir groove that would almost be catchy if it wasn’t served up with some perversely odd-timed rhythm-skipping. It’s in this manner that the offbeat quartet makes everything familiar sound a little alien at the same time.
The same cast remains in place from Meerkat Parade (Self Produced, 2017), and their chemistry is noticeably a step smoother, particularly in how Series and Huw Rees trade unison and counterpoint on guitar and keys. If you’ve ever wondered what “Drunken Frogs” might sound like, there’s a somewhat unexpected answer here: quaintly light-skittering bebop that’s too precise to fit the title after all. The title track benefits from a guest sax spot by Martin Kershaw, which makes it feel vaguely like a Blue Note session from an alternate world, while spots like “Let’s Go” bounce from simple folk patterns to easy-shuffling lounge jam and back again. Series mixes some familiar and even sometimes old-timey jazz elements alongside his vaguely spacy modern fusion, making a mix suitable for casual cocktails, either here on Earth or somewhere out in space.
Disturbed Nature eventually drifts off with one of its more unsettled moments, a sort of haunted meditation carried by a vaguely spooky fairground organ. For the most part, though, it’s not disturbing so much as simply restless—a sign of a group creatively itchy and disinclined to settle into anything too obvious. Even when Meerkat Parade goes straightforward, they still do it their own way—always true to their own nature, however skewed it might be.
First Album reviews
David Series‘ album, released last year, is a lively record, with enjoyable contributions from the rest of the quartet. His first record as a leader, the tunes hint at influences outside the usual jazz neighbourhood, with nods towards progressive and early psychedelic rock – but just the merest of nods: the execution is up-to-date modern jazz. Over its 40-odd minutes (which those of us who grew up in the age of vinyl might consider the perfect length for an album), it covers a fair amount of ground.
The tunes are generally arranged around Series’ guitar melodies, then building in intensity. From the slow gentle bass by James Lindsay which opens the CD with the somewhat spacey Herzog through to the fast, rocky closer of Scoobie Snack (a Glasgow delicacy, so the internet assures me), the quartet maintain interest and imagination.
Huw Rees‘s piano is another key voice, particularly on oink [sic] and Hermwei: on the former it’s as if Rees is leading us for a walk around his keyboard. On Hermwei, a more intense track, his solo explores various avenues, starting tenderly but seeming at times splintered and a little jagged. Coming after a gentle guitar solo from Series, the contrast emphasises the movement and scope in the piece.
oink also develops over its length: its various sections give it a narrative feel, ending with the piano and guitar being electronically distorted – indeed, the whole CD sounds as if it has stories to tell. The quartet tell them well.
Review by Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, Twitter: @patrickhadfield.
The Scotsman: 4 stars
David Series is an Edinburgh based guitarist whose debut album consists of 6 tracks composed by David. Although it may look a shorter album, 3 of the 6 tracks are over seven minutes long and another six and a half minutes in duration with only two less than four minutes. David states that the compositions are modern jazz influenced by amongst others, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Julin Argüelles and Derek Trucks. He has also created the colourful and quirky artwork that features on the album. There are no CD notes about the basis for the tracks, but they sure do have some quirky titles, like Oink, Hermwei and Mr. Frisbee.
The first track is called Herzog, with the intro featuring a melodic double bass which then provides the pulse with guitar and drums joining later. There is also an interesting keyboard solo. Mr. Frisbee has Popp on drums keeping everything going with some melodic interplay between keyboards and guitar and an inspired keyboard solo around the middle. The changes in rhythm are interesting and well managed and this seems to be a theme on most of the tracks. Oink, is possibly the track which shows Series’ wonderful guitar playing at its best. Gentle instrumental beginning with the guitar lead through the melodies building to a crescendo, and there is lots of interplay between superb keyboards and the aforementioned guitar. Hermwei is the longest track at 8 minutes 11 seconds where the entire band starts together but each breaks out and has a solo section. Quieter, light guitar sections interspersed with a memorable keyboard solo feature on this track. On Where’s Waltzy, the bass solo was of note. The last track is Scoobie Snack, which has a soulful guitar start with bass before the pace picks up as everyone piles in, and again each of the band members produce some great solos.
This is a mostly a well-balanced and melodic album with lots of interaction between the musicians whoever is providing the lead or base rhythm and I did look forward to Series’ guitar sections when listening to the album.
Bebop Spoken Here:
“Oink features the band building up behind the leader as he gets some tasteful effects from his use of pedals on perhaps the highlight of the album