A trio of albums from John Stevens
' Away – all packaged together in a single CD set! First up is the initial outing from the group – a surprising little set from drummer John Stevens
– quite different work than his more outside, freewheeling material in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble! This group hits that second chapter of British jazz rock that the Vertigo label did so well – a style that's much more mature than most American variants of the mode – neither stock rock fusion, nor smooth soul – and instead this approach that's still quite complicated and challenging at times, even though the music can have a nicely tight focus! The group features some excellent alto from Trevor Watts – who brings in lots of sharp edges – and the set also features Peter Cowling on bass and Steve Hayton on guitar. Titles include "Tumble", "It Will Never Be The Same", and "Anni". On Somewhere In Between, drummer John Stevens
hits a lot of bases on a great second album with his Away group – almost funky at points, almost outside at others, and always working with the group in a searing, searching mode that's a cut above the usual fusion of the time! There's a bit more electricity on the set this time – electric bass from Nick Stephens and guitar from David Cole – but the energy of the set is still very spontaneous, and driven by Stevens
' creative work on drums – and given plenty of bite from the soprano and tenor sax of Robert Calvert. The set's got a plenty fresh vibe – very much like labelmates Nucleus at this point, with lots of sharp edges and complicated patterns – but a sound that's still very down to earth. Titles include "Spirit Of Peace", "Chick Boom", "Can't Explain", and "Now". Mazin Ennit is definitely as amazing as the title proclaims – a bit leaner than before, with this wonderful use of two basses alongside the drums of John Stevens
– all in a groove that refines older Brit jazz rock modes, but without losing any sort of edge! There's a complexity here that still lives up to Stevens
' rich legacy in music – and the group features lots of sweet reedwork from Robert Calvert, who blows both soprano and tenor. Titles include "Away", "Sunshine Sunshine", "Whoops A Daisy", "Light Relief", and "Temple Music". CD features bonus tracks – "Anni (parts 1 & 2)" featuring John
Martyn, and "Can't Explain (parts 1 & 2)" featuringt Terri Quaye.