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Andy Middleton: Nomad’s Notebook

Saxophonist Middleton has assembled a truly stellar band for his third Intuition release. Guitarist and pianist Ralph Towner and bassist Dave Holland pretty much define the soundscapes in which Middleton’s compositions unfold-and why not? Their sense of interplay would be ample inspiration for any improviser-and Middleton shows signs of being more than “just any” improviser. Drummer Alan Jones rounds out the core group, which is augmented by the acute percussionist Jamie Haddad on three tracks, two of which also feature Noah Bless on trombone. Middleton finds compositional inspiration in his travels: Afghan caravans, Muslim prayer calls, the Canadian Rockies and Tolkien’s mythical Lothlorien are among the starting points for Middleton, who writes in a broadly euphonious harmonic language, with a natural tunefulness that engages the ear with exotic airs, but never strays too far from home.

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