FRED FARELL – DISTANT SONG – WHALING CITY SOUND
This is the sort of album that can only be produced by people who have a wealth of experience behind them, as it is full of the confidence that only comes from the long hours of playing. Here, singer Fred Farell is working with pianist Richie Beirach and Dave Liebman (saxophones, recorder), and together they have produced an album of original material that is laid back, reflective, spiritual, delicate and refreshing all at the same time. No-one here has anything to prove, they just combine in a manner that I found absolutely enthralling in its simplicity and beauty.
Acoustic piano, a gentle sax and vocals that often don’t even have much reverb place on them, it doesn’t get far more stark and sincere than this. Yet, there is a real warmth and depth to what is going on, that belies the fact that it is just three guys gently bouncing off each other to provide an album whose cover art is a perfect reflection of what lies inside. The landscape combines fields with the sea and distant mist, a gentleness that has a strength and power within it. This isn’t the sort of jazz that I listen to often, but rarely have I heard it more controlled and heartfelt than here and is something I have enjoyed considerably.
by Kev Rowland