Label: F-IRE Catalogue no: F-IRECD82 Date of Release: 15 July 2015 Price: 9.99 GBP
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Magna Carta Suite is Alex Hutton Trio's fourth album and offers a musical journey of ideas exploring the layers of history and landscapes from 1215 to 2015. The suite highlights the influence of Magna Carta as a founding document of the western traditions of liberty and democracy in this the 800th anniversary of its signingand its influence in the creation of the American constitution. Magna Carta Suite features Hutton’s long established trio with drummer Asaf Sirkis, who brings “a wide palate of colours, a full dynamic range and an optimism and calmness which is essential on both the studio and live dates’ and bassist Yuri Goloubev, who can “both lead and accompany like no other bass player I have met” and whose roots in classical music mean his sound is sonorous and distinct. The album also features spoken word from Neil Sparkes on the last 2 pieces and his words and performance (from a larger publication ‘Xerox sonnets & X-Ray Blues ‘ which will be published by Hesterglock Press in June 2015) add a huge dimension and drama to the album.
The inspiration for Magna Carta Suite came on Hutton’s daily dog walk through the ancient woodland where the Magna Carta was signed, between the villages of Wraysbury and Runnymede, near Windsor. Capitalizing on the wide range of colours and textures available to him with his trio, he composed a suite that draws on music from northern European and especially English sources over the last 800 years. Hutton then tied these themes to specific political or social events in history. Using early music, baroque classical and English folk as melodic and harmonic fragments Hutton depicts a forward momentum in the music as Western music developed in parallel with the pursuit of liberty and democracy.
The album opens with Old Yew (the Magna Carta was signed beneath a 2000 year old Yew Tree). It’s an organic theme, where Arco bass and baroque flute lines twist and turn over a percussive piano foundation.
King John’s Hunting Lodge, was born from Hutton’s desire to compose a simple restful folk song that had the same emotive quality as Greensleeves.
The Barons, brings a mood of urgency and conflict (as they push their demands on the King). It segues into June 15th 1215, a sort of English Jig that celebrates the signing and that nods to Vaughan Williams.
The delightful Gutenberg Press is rooted in baroque like harmonies of the day and celebrates one of what Francis Bacon (writing in 1620) hailed as three world changing inventions: the Gutenberg press, Gunpowder and Compass.
Which brings us onto track 6, Gunpowder and Compass, two of the driving forces behind the colonisation of the new world and a direct link to the Magna Carta becoming the bedrock of the American constitution.
Self Made Man is a song for the romantic era as Hutton attempts to describe the optimistic values of the 19th Century.
The Fog of War is a phrase Churchill used to describe the confusion and dis-information of war, but could just as well apply to the whole of the last century. Musically the piece starts innocently enough with an idea influenced by Alexander Scriabin (early c20th) then moves into a cycle that picks up momentum and tension before fading out.
King Johns Hunting Lodge (reprise) returns back to the hunting lodge. Its still there - in Wraysbury - and the melancholy cor anglias seems even more poignant on this reprise.
The suite ends with Old Yew (reprise) as we come back to out starting place; the tree still remains in 2015. A stronger more defined version of the piece, the cry of the flute seems more haunting offering a fitting end to a suite that seeks to engage us with ideas and beliefs that resonate down the centuries. Finally, the inspired words of Neil Sparkes plot this trip through poetry. Using the same starting point, the Old Yew Tree, the words follow the Magna Carta to the new world, just as Hutton’s music follows the Magna Carta’s influence down the ages to today.
01 June 2015, UK Vibe, Mark Gates 'Routed in folklore and yet encompasses many styles and influences, ranging from early folk music to baroque, classical and contemporary jazz, the different themes throughout the suite sit well together as a whole, with the listener taken on an engaging and enchanting journey.'
'I am delighted that Magna Carta Suite is acclaimed by the most valuable jazz journalists in the country. Here is what they said about the album:
'Alex Hutton is one of the UK’ Jazz’s hidden treasures. ' Ian Mann, Jazz Mann
☆☆☆1/2 'A brave and ambitious album that includes some brilliant moments but the overall impression is still that of something of a “Curate's Egg' - Ian Mann, Jazz Mann
F-IRECD82 C & P Alex Hutton 2015 All rights reserved.
All compositions by Alex Hutton
Published by Copyright Control except tracks 11 & 12 Written by Alex Hutton / Neil Sparkes published by Copyright Control / ARM Ltd.
Recorded in August, 2014 at Masterchord Studio, London.
Engineered by Raoul Terzi, assisted by Michele G Catri.
Vocals and Cor Anglias recorded @ the Hunting Lodge Studio, Wraysbury, Spring 2015.
Engineered by Nick Kacal.
Mixed and Mastered by Simon Changer @ North Seven Studios.
Album artwork by Alban Low.
ALEX HUTTON TRIO - MAGNA CARTA SUITE PREVIEW - 2015