Bearing the Bell — Andrew Robson

CD cover to come

(ABC Classics)

THE origin — tunes by Thomas Tallis for eight psalms, and an ordinal hymn — is classical, but the journey instigated by Andrew Robson ventures into jazz.
An ideal setting in which to hear Robson (alto and soprano sax), Sandy Evans (tenor and soprano sax), James Greening (trombone, pocket trumpet) and Steve Elphick (double bass) interpret Tallis would surely be Holy Trinity Cathedral during Wangaratta Festival of Jazz. We can only hope.
Robson’s arrangements successfully retain “the integrity and character” of the originals, while allowing improvisation.
Andrew Ford, in the CD notes, calls it a “collaboration across half a millennium”. The players explore — in a way frowned on in Tallis’s time — independent, but harmonically related, pathways.
They move beyond homage with sublime melodic interplay, slow and soaring majesty, aching lament, moving unison and, at times, glorious freedom.

Review by ROGER MITCHELL

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