One to look out for on release in September, Frame of Reference sets pianist Sean Foran free at last, away from the confines of the trio and out into a bigger world where his talents have more room to express themselves and the results are very different from Trichotomy the trio that he is best known for.
Once very much influenced by Esbjörn Svensson but less so now Foran sounds more his own man here and his compositions shine effortlessly flavoured by a slightly melancholic bittersweet sense of momentum that draws you in. The Australian has gathered a fine group around him, the band unusual in that it relies on the cello of Ben Davis rather than any double bass lines, while the curling serpentine, at times Jan Garbarek-like, saxophone direction of Julian Argüelles intertwines with the powerful guitar lines of Stuart McCallum, the band completed by Shatner’s Bassoon drummer Joost Hendrickx.
Recorded in the same studio in Sussex where the Impossible Gentlemen record their albums, Foran alternates between piano and Rhodes electric piano, his rolling ostinatos a constant presence underneath the yearning sax lines of Argüelles. Opening with the chamber-laden atmosphere of ‘Room with a View’ followed by the funkier ‘Une Fille’ the tunes more than stand on their own two feet and there is plenty of ingenuity in their shape and a logic to the way the melodies unfold and resolve themselves via a few twists and turns and that exquisite sense of melody that Foran manages to conjure time and time again throughout the eight excellent tracks.
Touring from 3-11 October, dates include Pizza Express Jazz Club, London on the opening night followed by Dorking, Nottingham, Bristol, Southampton, Newcastle and Liverpool dates