There’s been a great review published at www.highresmac.de
We thought we’d translate it into English for you all to read!
(The original review (in German) can be read HERE)
High Res Mac Review
Surprise Egg: GlowRogues – Live at Jazz Plus Presents
“Is it jazz? No, it’s funk”. So sang George Kranz, renowned percussionist and singer of the club dance scene in Germany. Sure, ‘funk’ isn’t quite the flavour of GlowRogues, but neither are these Manchester- and Birmingham-based musicians serving up pure jazz on their new album, Live at Jazz Plus Presents. Yet that doesn’t matter. At all.
The album is the live recording of a gig from 20th May, 2017 in Notting Hill Arts Club, London; part of a series of gigs established by the label ‘Jazz Plus Productions’ – hence, Jazz Plus Presents: not ribbon-wrapped presents, but the unveiling of a brand new find in jazz. And yet the album doesn’t actually have much of a jazzy start: D’ A O is much more mystifying than that. It simmers away gently, with only a few chord sequences as its notable nod to jazz.
The next track, Rivers and Roads, is seasoned somewhat differently. Yes, there is a taste of that bubbly groove – muzak’s key ingredient – but the brassy throw-ins and, above all, the intense piano solo leave no doubts about this album’s intrinsic ambitions.
If you wanted to the turn the structure of these pieces into something of a storyline, you would be led down a winding path: from seduction, to temptation, to realisation. White Lie, the finale, gathers in a harvest of tempting solos, a melting pot of horns, guitars and keys, leaving the track’s title lying on the plate as an almost ironic commentary on the whole album.
Yet Gloaming – the third track – is of another calibre. Rhythmic and dynamic, it speeds along, with thrilling changes and charming sound contrasts; impulsive vs. bare, horns vs. glockenspiel, and then… nightclub and bounding echoes. It demands attention, and explanation.
GlowRogues was established by multi-instrumentalist and composer Jim Molyneux, who limits himself to the drums on this album. Molyneux also has a thing for funk and hip-hop. So, at Jazz Plus Presents, ‘Jazz Plus Productions’ are not so much about showcasing bona fide jazz, but much more about a fusion of jazzy funk-hop, funky hop-jazz or (here’s George Kranz again) hippy jazzy funk. A manifesto declared by the electro interjections at the end of Oceanic, track 5.
GlowRogues has drawn together a total of seven pieces on this album, each lasting between five and ten minutes. And all of that with a fantastic acoustic. If you dare to up the volume a notch or two, you’ll hear how beautifully the guitar solo of Gloaming is placed: right in the middle, just in front of the drums; whilst the bass buzzes together the foundations from back right…as an example. Or, in The All Night Lights, you’ll find the four horns neatly arranged from left to right, making it wonderfully easy to locate and revel in their little games on the sidelines of main play.
And there’s live atmosphere, too – and not from applause just mixed-in retrospectively. A good two minutes at the start of Dance The Story, for example, rest on raw and genuine bar-chatter to back the guitar intro. That may well shock one or two purists, but it makes for delectable authenticity, especially as the band’s cheerful audience, in true acoustic form, casually quietens down.
Tonal surprises like these lend a good deal more fun to GlowRogues’ games of sound. The album, distributed on Bandcamp, is worth a real listen – through and through. It is now on sale.
Live at Jazz Plus Presents, the debut live album from Glowrogues is on sale now. Grab it on Bandcamp.