Konrad Wiszniewski and Euan Stevenson’s New Focus arrive at the Blue Lamp with an enthusiastically received new album, New Focus on Song, released since their appearance here last year.
As the album’s title implies, the group’s latest material has been inspired by songs. All the tracks are of pop song length and although there are no lyrics, the melodies are intended to be sung as well as inspire the soloists to improvise fresh ideas in the heat of live performance.
These compositions, written largely by Stevenson, reflect an interest not only in pop music but also in the European classical and Scottish folk traditions while still following the examples of the jazz greats who first drew Stevenson and Wiszniewski to the music as young musicians.
Showcasing Scottish National Jazz Orchestra saxophone star Wiszniewski’s ravishing tone and inventive, soulfully communicative playing and Stevenson’s elegant, coolly considered pianism, the quartet is completed by a rhythm section of conspicuous assurance in Mario Caribe on double bass and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s drums and percussion dynamo, Alyn Cosker.
Expect superbly accessible, hauntingly memorable jazz for the 21st century.