Mike Nock piano, James Waples drums, Ben Waples double bass, Karl Laskowski tenor saxophone, Ken Allars trumpet
This trio’s first album, An Accumulation of Subtleties, was a triumph, demonstrating on two discs how well the Waples brothers work with Nock’s presence and mastery. Hear and Know is altered radically by the addition of horns — it is fascinating to hear how the “plus” of sax and trumpet influence the character of this album, often expanding the sound to wide vistas of cinematic proportions.
The result is a richly expressive foray into varied moods and styles, making this outing full of interest. The opening title track demonstrates this, moving through intimate piano and bass to sweeping ruminations of brass, with an intricate overlay of bass, before a lively jaunt. The diversity continues with slow, soaring horn interplay in The Sibylline Fragrance, a whole forming from fragments in the melee of Colours, and a minimalist opening stretched in scope by soaring horns in After Satie.
Komodo Dragon is a feast of melodies and conversations with an entree of staccato trumpet and breathy sax, while If Truth Be Known is big, powerful and eventually swinging, underpinned by Nock’s deep, grumblings and topped by strident horns. Gathering intensity is also evident in the closing Slow News Day, suggestive perhaps that some late wire taps eventually produced a front page.
Laskowski and the exciting Allars add a great deal to this collection of Nock originals, though for me it’s not quite enough to top the trio’s earlier Subtleties.
Hear and Know illustrates again that Mike Nock is always on the move and never stuck in the here and now.
File between: Paul Grabowsky, Tomasz Stanko
Download: Colours, If Truth Be Known
This album includes a booklet of photographs taken by Gerard Anderson.