There's a heavy-duty Pat Metheny Wichita era vibe running through Mark Wingfield's (guitarist) Sleeper Street, crossed with quite a bit of Terje Rypdal and a modicum of the pre-Americana Bill Frisell, the period when he was playing with Emil Vicklicky and cats like that. This being the case, Robert Mitchell is his Lyle Mays, a keyboard craftsman with a taste for broad coloration. Now toss Iain Bellamy, most known for work with Bill Bruford but quite the soundtrack and fusion jazz cat in his own right, and you have a potent base further buttressed by drummer Jeremy Stacey and bassist Yaron Stavi, two gents laying down a perambulating rhythm unit.
Wingfield has his chops down, no sooner flown into the skies than the second cut, Eight Shades of Green, a Zawinulish number, Bellamy playing Wayne Shorter. Count a bit of Mike Stern in that as well. Serial bop enters Parralax a jaggedly fractionated romp with a wild piano section, insistent and sharp, while Hush Hush ices waaaaay out, an incidentalist piece, abstract and spacious, glacial and atonal until exploding into an ominous symphonic atmosphere even further up in that Nordic wasteland Rypdal has been so masterful in portraying.
All the above actually typifies the full environs of Sleeper Street, a consonant work unto itself, much of a piece, with movements and asides, and completely instrumental. Nels Cline long ago hit some of these areas in his superb Silencer and has since moved on. In fact, it's tough to locate this sound in the U.S. at all, not that much easier in Europe, but Wingfield's keeping the torch lit astride this highly sympathetic group. Thus, while ECM finds itself unfortunately caught in the regressive throes of office pelican heads and business shenanigans, basically—or so it appears—run by bureaucrats and getting ever more neoclassical and post-modern, you here have a dose of the exploratory travelogues and sonic icefields they at one time were so adept at invoking...pre-corporate whoreship (read into that Universal or whoever the behemoth is they've been subordinating to for untold ages now).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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