In Transition

Three years on from the much more mainstream quartet album Taylor Made trumpeter Linley Hamilton has made giant strides here in terms of moving into a new interpretative space joined once more by pianist Johnny Taylor, who like drummer Dominic Mullan returns from the earlier Lyte release. Australian bassist Damian Evans, and Italian guitarist Julien Colarossi, the latter guesting on three tracks including a mellow turn on Hamilton’s own tune the yearning ‘Dusk’, complete the quartet+ line-up. Ostensibly a ballads album material featured includes a fine treatment of Rufus Wainwright’s ‘Dinner at 8’, Hamilton clearly interested in seeing “the tears in your eyes”, and he succeeds in that difficult task. The pavane-like treatment of Abdullah Ibrahim’s ‘Joan-Capetown Flower’ delivered in appropriately stately fashion is a big plus and although the tempi on the majority of the tracks are slow that factor seems to increase the impact of the album rather than detract from it, and In Transition never drags, Hamilton preferring on his solo statements to be expressive rather than move his fingers about at a great rate and spray notes everywhere, the knowing Taylor a comping Boswell to Hamilton’s Dr Johnson. Easily the Belfast trumpeter’s best album to date the development of song-based melody with all that that onerous task involves is paramount, as an improviser Hamilton preferring to paraphrase and decorate detouring only into an overtly mainstream Thad Jones-like space on the Rodgers and Hart standard ‘I Didn’t Know What Time It Was’ where Evans begins to swing the band attractively. Stephen Graham

Released on 5 May