|SPRING HEEL JACK
· With their second entry in Thirsty Ear's Blue Series of avant-garde jazz, Spring Heel Jack unleash another burst of brilliantly controlled noise.
For past generations, jazz was a music of the people, performed in tiny sweaty clubs to packed houses. Since then, however, the world of jazz has been somehow co-opted and overtaken by high-rise executives and misguided music snobs, to whom the new definition of the style sticks with the "classic" moulds of Diana Krall and even Kenny G, both as dull and underwhelming as a marathon of Coronation Street re-runs.
With AMaSSED, Edinburgh's Spring Heel Jack, one of the first big names of the early 90s electronica revolution, move further into the realm of Masses, last year's release, a surprising step away from drum 'n bass toward improvisational jazz pieces. Closing track, "Obscured," provides the only standard back-beat Evan Parker's sax and Kenny Wheeler's trumpet frolic overtop and '"Lit" cheekily keeps the main audio spotlight on a piece of paper torn to pieces and then set on fire.
While the strictest of jazz purists will take issue with AMaSSED as a genuine artifact of the form, the record stands as a testament to jazz's fundamental "all welcome" policy of days gone by. Alongside the brilliant likes of drummer Han Bennink and keysman Matthew Shipp, both the Jacks (John Coxon and Ashley Wales to their mums) and one J. Spaceman (he of Spiritualized, which briefly dipped its toes in these waters before) prove themselves shockingly adept within the realm of modern jazz and improvisation.