Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
Cutting Both Ways
Martin Harper | Italy | 11/29/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For his debut solo album, recorded in 1985/86, the erstwhile National Health, Hatfield and the North and Matching Mole guitarist PHIL MILLER teams up with PIP PYLE (drums), HUGH HOPPER (bass), ELTON DEAN (saxes) and PETE LEMER (keyboards)to perform four tracks more or less live in the studio. Two denser layered compositions featuring PHIL MILLER (guitars/guitar-synth) and DAVE STEWART (keyboards/programming)complete the CD, giving the album a satisfying breadth of style. This is a thought-provoking instrumental set which blends jazz and rock in the Canterbury tradition without falling prey to the clichés or self-indulgence that discredited the Jazz-Rock genre long ago. The result sounds rather like National Health might have done had Phil Miller taken over following the departure of Dave Stewart and Alan Gowen. For me, this is the logical next step after "D.S. Al Coda" and anyone who liked that album, the Gilgamesh records or Soft Machine 6 and 7 will love this one. Although the opening number finds the band in perhaps over-familiar territory, the rest of the album is solid gold. There is a fine balance between composition and improvisation throughout. Phil Miller and Elton Dean, particularly, shine in their solo slots while Pip Pyle propels the entire group to a higher level with his crisp, masterful drumming. Hugh Hopper's full-bodied bass takes centre stage in "Second Sight", Pete Lemer turns in deft solos on "Eastern Region" and the final track but otherwise the rhythm section concerns itself more with support, space and dynamics. Nobody over-plays, everybody serves the music faithfully without self-indulgence. The performances are relaxed and spontaneous and everyone sounds like they're enjoying themselves. These tunes are among the most memorable of Phil Miller's career and constituted the core repertoire of his band In Cahoots for many years afterwards. This record has languished in undeserved obscurity for too long; do yourself a favour and check it out."
One look at the players' names on this, and you'll start to
Squire Jaco | Buffalo, NY USA | 04/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I was brought to this cd by an urge to hear more stuff by the guitarist for National Health, Hatfield and the North, and other Canterbury bands - Phil Miller. "Cutting Both Ways" (1987) is technically his band In Cahoots, though they do not use this moniker anywhere on the cd. This is a great look back at the classic 1970's Canterbury school of prog, with a much more mature and jazzier feel to it. Great cd.
Joining Miller is Pip Pyle (drums), Dave Stewart (keys), Barbara Gaskin (vocals) Hugh Hopper (bass), Elton Dean (sax) and Pete Lemer (keys). This 50-minute cd starts off with a fantastic 15-minute suite that features some great soloing from Miller, Lemer and Dean. Typical of the NH and HATN format, much of this music - even the soloing to an extent - is composed rather than improvised. I like that about this music; there tends to be something new and intricate to discover in the music every time you listen to it.
I should point out that the 4th and 5th tracks are basically just Miller and Stewart, with Stewart playing layers of keys and "programming". They are very well done, so don't get scared off. One complaint I might make is that the production is not great - just a bit flat in spots (e.g. the two Miller/Stewart songs), with a very distant bass sound. But certainly nothing to dissuade one from enjoying the great music flowing forth.
I'm now encouraged to investigate some of the other In Cahoots material.
I hope you will be too...
I value interesting music that is played and recorded well. This cd's rating was based on:
Music quality = 8.5/10; Performance = 9/10; Production = 7.5/10; CD length = 8/10.
Overall score weighted on my proprietary scale = 8.4 ("4 stars")