Billy Bottle & The Multiple – Unrecorded Beam (2014)

BillyBottle_Unrecorded Beam Leo Records – 2014

Masterful Canterbury plus much more recording produced by the amazing and ever so multi-talented Lee Fletcher (adding various pipe organ, soundscapes, treatments, and arrangements). This will thrill fans from Hatfield & The North to Robert Wyatt, Carla Bley, Michael Mantler and sophisticated dinner jazz.

I rarely find anything like this type work that has a sense of wonder and soothing dreamlike quality, in the progressive jazz world.  I am tempted to call it adult contemporary Canterbury, as it strikes me this way, because it surely contains all the goodies of yesterday’s cherished school of that music but also has a healthy theatrical vibe.  It’s not lacking any of the interesting textures, rhythmic meters, inventive lyrics , or overall brilliance of composition.

The subtitle says it all, “A Transformation Suite”, “an unfolding mini-epic of poetry by Thoreau, inside a prog/jazz odyssey”. This American poetry by a transcendentalist hooked up with a British hybrid of music instantly had my strict attention.  In fact it has a permanent place on my list of best recordings of 2014. With Billy Harbottle (piano/vocals/bass) at the helm and his wife Martine Waltier (vocals/violin) who was in the band Qadesh with Billy, along with Roz Harding (saxes), Viv Goodwin-Darke (flute), Angus Menter (trombone), Mike Outram (bass), Gary Evans (drums) and special guests Kare Westbrook (voice), Markus Reuter (touch guitar), and Jay Darlington (organ),  they all make a totally wonderful presentation.

Billy Bottle (real name Harbottle) got hooked on the Canterbury scene at age 16. He even wrote an undergraduate dissertation on The Canterbury Scene in school and formed The Multiple for a recital of a medley of this music. So the realization of this recording has a long history and strong basis. He has many creditials including playing piano with The Mike Westbrook Big  Band, and working with Dave Sinclair performing with co-producing and engineering for. With this talent and skill we all get a prize not to be missed. No wonder the beautiful Canterbury influences and I for one am happy for it. Flawless performance and nothing but magic throughout, this will rank among my favorite recordings forever. “Unrecorded Beam” is an instant classic. Very Highly Recommended!

Reviewed by Lee Henderson – July 4, 2014

1.    Within The Circuit of This Plodding Life (1:39)
2.    Winter Memories (5:56)
3.    The Vessel (10:34)
4.    Inward Morning (1:52)
5.    O Nature (5:45)
6.    Outward Morning (8:23)
7.    Fog (7:27)
8.    Mere Smoke of Opinion (2:58)
9.    Men Say They Know Many Things (3:33)

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