Posted by & filed under CD Reviews, Web Only.

The rolling afro-inspired percussion of the opening Songlines makes it clear that groove and feel are the priority here. Stuart doesn’t assert himself as a soloist, as can be the case is some more stentorian solo drummer ventures, but rather embraces the potential for exploration of sounds and feelings. There is a curiosity to Stuart’s writing, an inventiveness that can only be conjured by a composer on an instrument that is not his own. Melodies, such as on The Crossing, while often brooding, make more sense as the songs progress, and eventually stay in your head like an interesting remark from a friend. Sense of Place has a sense of space, and Andrew Robson’s delicate alto sax brings Manu Katche’s Neighbourhood to mind. It feels at times like there is a film that hasn’t yet been made to Someone Else’s Child, its soundtrack, as slow exploration sometimes borders on meandering. There is, however, never a moment that lacks true texture; interpretations of Stuart’s ideas by Robson, Matt Ottingon, Phil Slater, Chris Abrahams and Stu Hunter are all masterful. Occasional vocals and lyrics by Tina Harrod and the late Jackie Orszaczky, are welcome and heartfelt – “snow covers the pain” echoes feelings of Orszaczky’s native Hungary in the title track. Someone Else’s Child is a valuable lesson in musical humility from one of the true masters of his craft.

****