Exploring afresh the freewheeling, wonderfully melodic interpretations of standard material recorded 50 years ago by Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond on Blues in Time and Two of a Mind, this new band promises to evoke the spirit of these classic recordings while giving free reign to the personalities of the musicians.
The Mulligan and Desmond recordings were by a quartet of baritone and alto sax, bass and drums. CD re-releases included some tracks with guitar added.
The first CD by the band, Then and Now (Trio tr597), released March 2017, and distributed by Proper Music, includes three performances by the quartet (two saxes, bass and drums) and four on which guitarist Colin Oxley joins us. Colin’s playing is an object lesson in how to enrich the harmonies and add to the rhythmic drive without detracting from the interplay between the saxes which is the hallmark of this band.
Easy Living, Lover and The Way You Look Tonight include parts of the arrangements featured on the recordings made together by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. Arrangements transcribed by Allison Neale.
How Deep Is The Ocean is a new arrangement by Allison Neale.
Rest Easy (based on the chords of Star Eyes) and Then and Now, which reconstructs the chord sequence of What’s New, were composed for the band by Chris Biscoe.

The Band

CHRIS BISCOE Multi-instrumentalist Chris Biscoe has been featured on baritone sax with the big bands of Hermeto Pascoal, Tony Kinsey, Graham Collier and the New York Composers Orchestra, as well as in various Mike Westbrook Bands and John Williams’ Baritone Band. Chris has released two CDs with Tony Kofi, and Profiles of Mingus with Henry Lowther.
ALLISON NEALE American born altoist Allison Neale’s beautifully crafted lines evoke the spirit of Paul Desmond and Art Pepper, with whom she has a particular affinity. She has performed with Adelaide Hal, Bud Shank and Scott Hamilton, as well as featuring in the John Dankworth Generations Band and the Back to Basie Orchestra. Her latest CD I Wished on the Moon (Trio tr593) was released in 2015.
JEREMY BROWN One of the most sought after bass players on the UK scene, Jeremy has worked with Peter King, Phil Woods, Art Farmer, Johnny Griffin, Anita Wardell, Curtis Stigers and Kate Williams.
STU BUTTERFIELD Stu Butterfield brings his subtle and dynamic playing to the Great Wee Band with Henry Lowther and Jim Mullen, Mingus Moves and the Profiles Quartet with Chris Biscoe and Tony Kofi.
COLIN OXLEY Colin Oxley established an international reputation with the Stacey Kent group, and has gone on to work with Harry Allen, Warren Vache, Houston Person and Dave Newton. He is professor of guitar at the Guildhall School of Music.

Email biscoechris@waitrose.com www.chrisbiscoe.co.uk

REVIEWS OF THEN AND NOW:

Dave Gelly, The Observer, Sunday 19 March 2017/The Guardian ****
Two saxophonists, Chris Biscoe and Allison Neale, revisit the music of Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond. The baritone-and-alto interplay of this classic late 50s-early 60s partnership had the rare distinction of being both clever and tuneful, with touches of wit. The trouble was, they only made two albums together. Now, with perfect rapport, and a positively uncanny grasp of this elusive idiom, Biscoe and Neale have come up with more, including two Biscoe originals. The playing is immaculate, with the beautifully light but firm support by bassist Jeremy Brown and drummer Stu Butterfield. Colin Oxley adds subtle guitar on four tracks. It all sounds bright, sharp and, well, modern.
Richard Williams – The Blue Moment, June 2017
Chris Biscoe / Allison Neale: Then and Now (Trio). One of the unsung heroes of British jazz since his arrival as a promising saxophonist with NYJO in the early ’70s, Biscoe sticks to the baritone instrument on this release, joined by Neale’s alto saxophone as they explore the mood of the albums Gerry Mulligan made with Paul Desmond in the late ’50s and early ’60s. With Colin Oxley’s guitar, Jeremy Brown’s bass and Stu Butterfield’s drums in support, the approach is deceptively relaxed: this music may not bear the burden of innovation but it demands high standards of execution and integrity. The intricate improvised counterpoint on “The Way You Look Tonight” refracts Mulligan/Desmond through the Tristano prism.

Jazzwise June 2017 – review by Peter Vacher Recommended ****
…small in scale perhaps, theirs is music that reaches the parts that other forms, more brash perhaps, simply don’t.

Patrick Hadfield for London Jazz News
.. it is the interaction between Biscoe and Neale that make this recording so pleasurable. At times they seem to gently circle each other, at others one will speed off on a solo. They playfully nudge each other along, as if playing a game of catch.

Jazz Journal June 2017 Brian Robinson
The interplay between the two saxophonists is confident and engaging and they are joined on four numbers by Colin Oxley whose guitar contributions are subtle and satisfying

By DUNCAN HEINING, All About Jazz ****
There is a light, airy feel to these seven tracks. Backed by the gently shifting, swinging rhythms of Stu Butterfield and Jeremy Brown, Chris Biscoe and Allison Neale are free to solo, play unison lines or trade phrases in a way that is quietly emotionally affecting.
…one of the best aspects of “Then and Now” is the way that Biscoe and Neale eschew the usual head-solo-head-solo approach of much jazz with standards. In the spirit of the original Mulligan-Desmond model, they really spin out the themes, exploring their melodic potential to the full.

The Musician – Summer 2017

Allison Neale, alto saxophone, and Chris Biscoe, baritone saxophone, have all the makings of a classic duo

5 stars By Amazon Customer on 6 Jun. 2017 Verified Purchase
This will probably be my CD of the year!
This album has two of the greats of British mainstream jazz playing at the very top of their game…..The sublime rhythm section provides elegant support throughout but it is the contrast between the two horns and the inspired interplay between the two leads that really makes this lovely disc stand out from the crowd.

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