Nick Walters, the accomplished trumpeter, composer, and bandleader, has made a triumphant return to his own D.O.T. Records label with the enchanting masterpiece titled ‘Marine Moods’. This album marks the reunion of his sextet, the same group that graced his 2019 release, ‘Active Imagination’. The exceptional assembly of musicians picks up right where they left off, delivering a spellbinding blend of contemporary jazz that draws inspiration from the rich traditions of Afro, modal, spiritual jazz and jazz fusion.
‘Marine Moods’, written in its entirety by Walters, is a captivating collection of compositions inspired by the boundless sea. Much like its predecessor, ‘Active Imagination’, released on 22a in 2019, the compositions on this album are meticulously crafted to provide ample space and creative freedom for all the musicians to express themselves and engage in artistic dialogue. Just like the vast oceans that have influenced the project, these pieces take the listener on a captivating journey through a range of emotions. From the spirited optimism of “Gulf Stream” to the entrancing hypnotic groove of “Hydrothermal” and the serene tranquility of the raga-inspired “Journey for Joan”, the album is a kaleidoscope of musical experiences.
Recorded in a single sweltering summer day within a North London studio, ‘Marine Moods’ captures the essence of six musicians and friends coming together to improvise, interact, and collaborate, resulting in the creation of something truly innovative.
The album begins with the infectious and groove-laden “Challenger Deep”. Nick Walters leads his band through an epic, Coltrane-inspired introduction, seamlessly transitioning into a spirited drum groove and a catchy lead line. Rebecca Nash takes center stage on the piano with her distinctive voicings, setting the tone for an epic flute solo by Tenderlonious. “Challenger Deep” derives its name from the deepest point of the seabed, located in the Mariana Trench at a staggering depth of over 10 kilometers.
“Gulf Stream” continues in Walters’ signature amiable style, ushering in a joyful, summery horn line followed by a magnificent trumpet solo by the man himself. Tenderlonious takes the reins with a thrilling soprano solo, complemented by Laurie Lowe’s masterful drum work. The melodious lead line returns to bring the track to a close, much like the sunset on a memorable day. The title “Gulf Stream” pays homage to the ocean current that traverses the Atlantic, bringing warm waters and weather to the shores of Western Europe.
“Wine-Dark Sea” draws inspiration from the phrase used by Homer in The Iliad and The Odyssey to depict turbulent, stormy seas. This track emerges as a studio jam built around a captivating hook. Kudjovi Kush leads the way on percussion, paving the way for Walters on trumpet and Tenderlonious on flute to deliver captivating solos.
“Hydrothermal” stands out as another exceptional track on the album. Once again, a memorable lead line sets the stage for stellar solo performances by Walters, Nash, and Tenderlonious. Nim Sadot takes the spotlight, steering the rhythm section with his slick bass work, providing a solid foundation for the track. “Hydrothermal” derives its name from the deep-sea hydrothermal vents found in volcanically active regions, which are home to simple life forms and bacteria and are hypothesized to be the origin of all life on Earth.
The album concludes with “Journey for Joan”, a heartfelt ballad dedicated to Nick’s grandmother, Joan Walters. This deeply spiritual piece beautifully captures the essence of melancholy and joy. It serves as a fitting conclusion to yet another remarkable album by Nick Walters.
“Marine Moods” is a captivating journey through the boundless horizons of jazz, skillfully blending various influences into a harmonious and evocative musical narrative. Walters and his sextet have once again demonstrated their exceptional artistry, delivering an album that will undoubtedly resonate with jazz enthusiasts and anyone with an appreciation for the intricacies of contemporary jazz fusion.
Walters launches the album with a live show on Tuesday 14 November at Ninety One Living Room, London, as part of the esteemable EFG London Jazz Festival, accompanied by the majority of the musicians on this record.Info & Tickets