Saturday, 7 February 2015

Sam Rapley trio recordings - EP soon come

I only just heard Sam Rapley play for the first time a couple of weeks ago. He was in Ralph Wyld's Mosaic at the Oxford. It was a double bill with George Crowley's Can of Worms - the gig itself, probably the best £5 I've ever spent on a Monday. Plus the £5.something for the pint of Lagunitas. George's band was on form. They've been warming up for a launch tour for his upcoming second album, and the new pieces he included sounded incredible. Then came Mosaic, their earlier gig at the Oxford having been cancelled. Out of the whole sextet, Wyld himself was the only one I'd heard play before (in Rick Simpson's Klammer, among others). For me at least, they were a whole new generation of players, and it was pretty hip to be able to check out so many new musicians all in one set.

Rapley was on clarinets, and I was blown away by one solo in particular on the bass clarinet. His expression is clear and honest - throughout, he has a deeply personal sense of poise, colour and edge, but not without some very occasional, daring note choices. The kind that puts a kink in your neck when it lands, knocks your head off centre a little. Just a little. Bold, not brash.

Here he is alongside Matt Robinson (piano) and Alex Munk (guitar), playing a piece of his called High Mayfield. His tenor voice has all the best qualities I heard in his clarinet playing. There's a note on his blog that this recording (actually from 2013) has since evolved into a new band, Fabled - with the addition of Will Glaser on drums and Conor Chaplin on bass.

I'm more than a little interested to hear these composition complete with rhythm section - and the EP is (according to the cover) mixed by Alex Killpartrick, who did unbelievably gorgeous work on the Snowpoet record. Can't wait.

That said, his sound met here simply by the lush, lyrical pairing of Robinson and Munk makes this set of recordings worth investigating in its own right. Enjoy.