June 24, 2024

Fabled – ‘Short Stories’ – is a brightly involving debut jazz album

Fabled – Short Stories

PICTOR RECORDS 28th September 2018

Fabled is a new London jazz ensemble led by up and coming saxophonist & clarinetist, Sam Rapley. Sam gets around the London scene, working with other artists, but here, he presents his vision. And a satisfying vision it is, too, appealing to fans of The Portico Quartet or the Neil Cowley Trio.

There are elements of modern classical, especially minimalist, but tied together with story-telling musical theatre elements and elements of the folk tradition. Although it is a quintet, it is big-sounding, with arrangements that would fit a bigger band too. The tracks are strongly structured and composed – this is sit-down jazz, not beard-stroking improv.

The material is lyrical yet strongly underpinned with jazz rhythm and the loose-limbed drums of Alex Munk. Matt Robinson’s piano is key, as the piano’s punctuation is in much good music, leading or vamping, adding bright sparks that makes me smile and nod.

Sometimes it is nicely wandering, sometimes blowing hard, other times tight and yet again pensive. This is an album of moods, none of them challenging, all of them warmly involving and an open door to a world of jazzy excursion.

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