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Randal Clark: Imaginary World

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Randal Clark: Imaginary World
Photograph courtesy of the artist

This is Randal Clark’s debut album and it will be remembered not only as a superb production, but an eminently musical one for with it Mr Clark introduces us to his songful compositions, his bright and radiant tone and timbre of his woodwinds playing but also of his gifts at orchestration. His musicality is abundantly clear from the off and the music unfolds with an elegant sense of inevitability. He has a sense of calm that immediately strikes the listener as an excellent take on the ‘cool’ – both in attitude and execution.

Mr Clark could have been more dramatically assertive if he wanted to, but his soulful wail and minor-key bluesy shouts make up for that in spades. He also has a wonderful insouciant way with topping his compositions with BIG finales. These are also played with a good deal of wit too. Where there are big orchestrations Mr Clark comes especially alive. He shifts tonally and swerves with oomph and rhythmic verve. It is also here that the star saxophonist seems to relish unexpected dramatic heights that he can take the music to. This is unabashed, yet affable alpha quality is superbly displayed on “Trailblazer” and “Time’s Arrow”.

The saxophonist’s music can also be solemn and is eminently clear from the languid inventions of “New Day” and “Looking Back”. Both songs are played with immense gravitas with Mr Clark lending the arching melodic line [in the latter] a twinkling improvisatory quality. Overall this music is irresistible for its overt sensuality and colour. Moreover the musicians are able to conjure the heat and dust of the most imaginative evocations that this music seeks to convey.

The album also features a stellar cast – from bassists Jimmy Haslip and Jeff Lorber, who also plays a gutty guitar and airy keyboards when called upon to play. Randy Brecker brings much fire to “Time’s Arrow”. There are many more celebrated musicians who grace the music of this album and all of them are listed below.

In sum, this is one of the most impressive debut recordings by someone who is clearly prodigiously gifted. Much more is expected from Mr Clark. On this evidence from Imaginary World the arc of his artistic trajectory already seems to point ever upwards, while we wait more music with bated breath…

Track list – 1: Trailblazer; 2: New Day; 3: Daybreak; 4: Living Underground; 5: Discovery; 6: Boulevard East; 7: Tiger Lily; 8: Looking Back; 9: Turbocharged; 10: Time’s Arrow; 11: Imaginary World

Personnel – Randal Clark: alto saxophone [1, 2, 4 – 9, 11], tenor saxophone [10], soprano saxophone [3], piano [8] and synthesizer [4, 7]. Featuring – Randy Brecker: trumpet [10]; Jeff Lorber: bass 1, 4, 7], keyboards [1, – 5, 9 – 11], guitar [1 – 5, 7 9, 10]; Jimmy Haslip: bass [2, 3, solo on 4, 5, 8, 10, 11] and synthesizer [4]; Michael Thompson: guitar [1, 5, 7]. – With – Vinnie Colaiuta: drums [3, 4, 10]; Gary Novak: drums [1, 2, 8, 9]; Gerald Albright: bass [6]; Sonny Emory: drums [6]; Jon Herington: guitar [6]; Scott Kinsey: keyboards 8, 11] and synthesizer [11]; Mononeon: bass [9]; David Mann: saxophones [1, 5, 10], flute [10] keyboards [5] and synthesizer [5]; Jimmy Branly: drums [4, 8, 11]; Mike Miller: guitar [1, 9]; Howard Summers: trumpet [1]; Alec Clark: trumpet [1, 10]; Zane Clark: alto saxophone [10; Jace Clark: alto saxophone [10]; Tara Clark: trumpet [10]; Ashlyn Clark: flute [10]; Melanie Shore: organ [9]

Released – 2021
Label – Blue Hour Productions
Runtime – 54:33

Raul da Gama is a poet and essayist. He has published three collections of poetry, He studied at Trinity College of Music, London specialising in theory and piano, and he has a Masters in The Classics. He is an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep technical and historical understanding of music and literature.

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