Maguire, Alex - Brewed in Belgium
This has the great UK keyboardist Alex Maguire, someone who is at home in any style from rock to jazz to jazz-rock to free improvisation, performing a modern sort of swinging electric jazz with four members of the Wrong Object and a saxist in a sweaty Belgian club and really cooking up a storm.
"Alex Maguire and the fine fleur of Belgian jazz and jazz-rock musicians team up to launch a repertoire ranging from lyrical to groovy tunes, haunting melodies, free improvisation and high-energy interaction. In this record, Maguire’s Belgian sextet includes Jean-Paul Estiévenart on trumpet, Michel Delville on guitar and guitar-synth, Damien Polard on bass and Laurent Delchambre on drums (four members of notable Belgian rock-jazz band and another exclusive MoonJune recording artist The Wrong Object) as well as Flemish saxophonist, now based in New York City, Robin Verheyen (who has just released his first solo opus with American pianist Bill Carrothers). The quality of this recording, which was captured live by VPRO (the Dutch National Radio) in October 2007, confirms Maguire’s status as a vital presence on the international jazz scene, one which is capable of lacing the most intense lyricism with a juicy experimentalism that is reminiscent of Cecil Taylor’s best work and results in what is perhaps best described as a paradoxical and
delightfully unstable form of “lyric experimentalism”. Maguire’s talents as a pianist and a keyboard player are so diverse, his “touch” so
personal (Maguire belongs to that class of musicians who have succeeded in developing their own, immediately recognizable sound), his
telepathic conversations with the other musicians in the band so explosive and brilliantly unpredictable that the line that divides the
written parts from the collective improvisations is often impossible to draw. It is a tribute to the sextet’s improvisational skills that the
mixture remains coherent and fascinating throughout despite the wide range of styles that characterizes this highly unusual record.
These, of course bear the mark of Canterbury School prog-jazz, but hey also contain swinging upbeat tunes such as “John’s Fragment”,
poignant, meditative and mournful hymns such as “Psychic Warrior” (Maguire’s compositions dedicated to late Softmachinist and British
saxophone jazz legend Elton Dean) as well as faster-than-light melodic improvisations like “Pumpkin Soup” that flow in and out of funky
syncopated cadences and English pastoral flavors.
British born jazz and jaz-rock-fusion pianist/keyboardist/composer Alex Maguire, has studied with John Cage and Howard Riley, and has performed extensively around the globe. Among others, he has worked with Michael Moore, Elton Dean in several projects (including Newsense, Headless, EDQ etc), Pip Pyle's Bash, and was keyboardist of reformed Canterbury scene legends Hatfield & The North (2004-2006, with Phil Miller, Richard Sinclair and Pip Pyle). He is also founding member of newborn InCaHat with Phil Miller, Fred Baker and Mark Fletcher (band performing the music of In Cahoots, Hatfield & The North and National Health)."