Album Review

Wells, Bill – “Pick Up Sticks ” – [Leaf Label Ltd]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

Glasgow’s BILL WELLS, whose OCTET & TRIO have been
crossbreeding floral filmatics & epic rock inside loose
jazz contexts for some years, collaborates here with the
famed trombonist Annie Whitehead ( WORKING WEEK,
German keyboardist Barbara Morgenstern ( a noted vocalist
& songwriter ) and Dusseldorf’s Stefan Schneider ( KREIDLER,
TO ROCOCO ROT, MAPSTATION ) in a series of eight warm,
Intimate and brief improvisations. Armed with a background
palette of computer sounds recorded with the aid of Norman
Blake ( TEENAGE FANCLUB ), WELLS met the others in Berlin,
the sessions running to five days with the engineering expertise
of Bernd Jestram ( TARWATER ). Wells says, ‘We had a lot in
common; strong melodic sensibility and a desire to keep things
simple?.’ Building from synthetic samples & beds of soft
clicking, Whitehead’s trombone in multi-track (check the ostinato
on # 3) is a very human and muted set of tones in quiet shift with
Morgenstern’s keyboards ( # 5 + 8 ) and Schneider’s weightless
bass (and subtle warmth). Compelling, all in all – and surprising.

MITCH August 2004

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