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Monocled Man Southern Drawl (Whirlwind)

Trumpeter Rory Simmons' previous three releases featured his 11-piece band Fringe Magnetic, an adventure into orchestration and fresh sonic exploration that worked very well on disc but possibly scared cash-strapped jazz promoters.

Monocled Man is a much more viable proposition, featuring Simmons alongside guitarist Chris Montague (from Troyka) and drummer Jon Scott, although with the help of keyboards and electronica added in post-production, it continues Simmons's quest for interesting settings for his direct, articulate trumpet playing. Despite those sounds being added after the fact, the feeling is very much of a live session, with Montague's choppy riffing integrating well with Scott's urgent drumming on up-tempo numbers such as Bullet Nose, and the three players building atmosphere very effectively together on Scribbles. Fans of Red-era King Crimson and recent developments in Scandinavian jazz, will find much to enjoy in Monocled Man's blend of rugged interplay and melodic soul-searching.

Rob Adams

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