Album Title: Flight Line Artist: Rachel Musson's Skein Catalogue no: F-IRECD37 Date of Release: 25/10/2010 Price: 9.99 GBP
“Skein” is the brainchild of saxophonist Rachel Musson, the first release under her own name. With a background playing in groups led by drummer Sebastian Rochford (she was a member of the first incarnation of Polar Bear) and avant-saxophonist/composer Caroline Kraabel (the 20-strong, Buffalo Boot-wearing Mass Producers), as well as having recorded alongside the likes of Steve Buckley and NYC-based Federico Ughi (Ughi: The Space Within), Rachel leads a stellar group including acclaimed pianist Alcyona and improv drummer Javier Carmona through 10 original compositions and a one-track homage to her Welsh roots.
Both the compositions and Rachel’s playing have a strong melodic sense reminiscent of the Loose Tubes-era musicians, enlivened by two drummers (Madrid-born free improv percussionist Javier Carmona and the jazzier Josh Morrison) and underpinned by Will Collier’s solid bass. Add to this the distinctive pianisms of Alcyona Mick, who effortlessly fuses elements of Monk, Bartok and gamelan music into her own unique style, and Rachel’s own improvisations revealing a new raw, vocalized edge borne of her increasing improv leanings, and you will hear a band where the unexpected can and does happen, where structure and freedom, control and abandon, do joyfully coexist.
Rachel Musson: saxophone
Alcyona Mick: piano
Will Collier: double bass
Josh Morrison: drums
Javier Carmona: drums
**** John Fordham (The Guardian)
This album's originality and assured tenor-sax playing ought to make Rachel Musson a hot ticket in 2011
Chris Parker, 2010 (The Vortex)
Her band, Skein (pianist Alcyona Mick, bassist Will Collier and drummers Josh Morrison and Javier Carmona) are appropriately versatile and musicianly, whether skipping delicately through Musson's perkier themes or stoking her considerable fire and energy on the earthier material, on which her saxophone utilises the affecting vocalised tones and textures more frequently found in freely improvised music. Overall, a highly auspicious debut from an accomplished composer and soloist.
Ian Mann (The Jazz Mann), 2010
An assured début from a saxophonist and composer whose reputation on the UK scene is sure to be enhanced by this highly accomplished release.
JJ Wheeler, 2010 (The Jazz Breakfast)
The compositions are strong and multi-layered, the musicians excellent.
Daniel Spicer, 2010 (Jazzwise)
For her debut as a leader, former Polar Bear associate Rachel Musson has assembled a fresh-sounding quintet with some distinctive voices.
Roger Thomas, (2011 Jazz UK)
Flight Line sees an emphatic two-drummer band (it can be done) supporting Musson on a set of originals. Her growly yet articulate tenor playing – a bit Getz, a bit Lou Gare, mostly her – is a joy.
It's Because of the Sky
White Ribbon (part 1)
I'm Sure This Wasn't the Plan
That Reminds Me of the Time
White Ribbon (part 2)
All compositionsby Rachel Musson, except Swansea Town by John Davies, arranged by Rachel Musson.
C & P Rachel Musson 2010.
Recorded at Livingston Studios 23rd and 24th January by Sonny.
Mixed by Steve Lowe and Peter Beckmann.
Mastered by Peter Beckmann at Technologyworks.