Sunday 25 October 2009

Four Minus One - Andy Quin

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.

Born in London in 1960, Andy Quin has played with some of the UK's leading jazz musicians such as Stan Sulzmann, Don Lusher, Guy Barker, Steve Sidwell, John Patrick, Roy Williams and many more, as well as appearing as a soloist at numerous concert venues and jazz festivals.

Andy Quin's jazz music has featured on numerous TV programmes and adverts as well as film productions including George A. Romero's 1991 Horror, The Dark Half and Brian Dennehy's 1997 drama, A Father's Betrayal which includes Four Minus One's opening track Eldiderap.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your critique. I have only a lay point of view, but your term "expert" is an understatement. "Sublime", now that's accurate.

I had a similar "thrift store" experience. I found my copy 15 years ago, someone's trade-in at Tower Records, for about $1. Now it's a personal treasure. Not before or since have I run across such a balanced, excellently performed collection of jazz/blues. Man! These guys are (were) the real deal. A disappearing breed in our age of automation and electronics? Thanks, John