Several years ago I was browsing round a charity shop and found a hoard of Library Music CDs. Amongst the usual cheesy synthesiser fare was Four Minus One, an expertly executed collection of jazz instrumentals by composer and jazz pianist Andy Quin.
Released in 1988 Four Minus One features Andy Quin's Tatum/Peterson/Evans style piano, supported by Tony Woods on Tenor and Alto Sax, Brian Hurst on stand up and fretless Bass, and Pete Cotterill on Drums. Normally library music by its very nature is simply required to create a mood or provide succinct unobtrusive background. On certain tracks Four Minus One, adheres to these rules, however on the frenetic Bossa Da Company, the band get a chance to really let go. The saxes are sublime and the rhythm section is electifying. Quin in particular, allows himself to display his enviable skills on the 88, transforming a rambling latin flavoured cue into something altogether wonderful, which to my ears sounds like a syncopated outtake from Richard Rodney Bennett's Billion Dollar Brain.
Elsewhere, the hermetically tight quartet take care of business with the smokey jazz club style Eldidarap, the shades 'n' sharkskin suit sophisticition of Calculation and Backstreet, the title track Four Minus One and the perky Take Off which sounds like a cross between a theme for a game show or a late night chat show and allows Tony Wood's sizzling reed work to shine through. It's a fitting closer for the group session and in my mind's eye I can imagine a good natured but slightly exhausted band packing their gear away in the back of estate cars, exchanging jokes, jackets over their shoulders, while Andy Quin chills out on the old Joanna for the five remaining solo tracks.
Four Minus One has become something of a collector's item, with the vinyl version commanding some £50 for a decent copy. That aside, anyone who has enjoyed earlier postings about Dudley Moore and Gordon Beck, should find plenty to tap a toe to with the Mighty Quin.