George Colligan

More Powerful

Whirlwind

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NEW Jersey-born pianist George Colligan was a familiar face in Scotland back when Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh hosted jazz almost every night of the week, and on the evidence of this album with his current quartet, it’s time he returned.

Composition was always as strong a part of Colligan’s armoury as onstage spontaneity and his writing here, especially on the trio tracks, continues to showcase a talent for clean, clear melodies that stay with the listener long after the album’s finished, and develop into full-on dramas.

Add tenor and soprano saxophonist Nicole Glover to a group that comprises the steadfast and pliable Linda May Han Ho and the brilliantly effervescent Rudy Royston on drums alongside Colligan, and the drama increases exponentially in teethy quartet pieces such as More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine and the initially bold, strong statement of Empty that grows more excitingly fractious with every minute.

Colligan’s playing is always supremely confident and unfailingly fluent, with ideas tumbling forth on the flying opener, Whiffle Ball, and he’s sufficiently generous as a bandleader to let Glover, on soprano, and Royston go toe to toe in a marvellous sax-drums throwdown on The Nash.

Rob Adams