- Here's the line-up:
- Bass – Ron Mathewson
- Co-producer – Steve Taylor
- Drums – Frank Gibson
- Engineer – John Gill
- Executive-producer – Gerd Peeckel, Manfred Schiek
- Mixed By [Remix] – Steve Taylor
- Photography By [Cover Photo], Design – Nino Hieman
- Piano – John Taylor
- Producer, Soprano, Alto, Flute, Pan Pipes – Ray Warleigh
We start appropriately enough with the dreamy title track in a dark old-growth forest with the flute of Warleigh alternately bending up to the sun tossing spots and flatting down to the c minor leaf-laid floor. Towards the end, note the striking modulations from Taylor's piano as if anxiety sets in by crepuscule as we lose our pathway out.
The next track starts with Matheson's bass thumping us into shape with a more fusionoid excursion into various unusual patterns and chords changes, imagine of course the (slightly-gay) greek god pan skipping (as he tends to do) through the same forest, I pray not in the nude.
"Storm" is appropriately enough in F minor-- a typical key for this kind of meterological effect, dark thundering chords on the piano underlie some squealing saxwork when suddenly a walking bass line capped with cymbal touches beautifully evokes rain falling gently and steadily. Not sure if it's the pregnantly-thick-with-flats aspect of this key that makes it fitting for the heavy nimbus clouds or some other dark quality intrinsic to it, perhaps the synaesthetes among us can explain. Or perhaps not since I've made this call before.
For me the long track on side b is the masterpiece, "All on a summer's afternoon" with its ingeniously original and genuine-feeling chords, its slow modulations that lightly shift from one scene to another, the estival or pastoral feel of the brilliant Warleigh's flute, the evocations of field, forest, beach, birds, clearings, dejeuners sur l'herbe, etc. Of course you will require some patience for the lengthy bass and sax solos.
It's hard for me to believe this really is through and through improvised since it plays so magnificently from beginning to end, probably some aspects of it were pre-arranged or composed, though not the very last track which definitely, as an extempore sax and drum duet, is to me a throwaway. Title (Opus 80) must be ironic.
What a perfect dream of beauty and light to find on your doorstep on this late-July summer's afternoon of hot, soft and wonderful life ...
now time for me to jump into the pool