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Joe Harriott, Amancio D'Silva

Hum Dono (LP)

Label: Trunk

Format: LP

Genre: Jazz

Out of stock

Released in 1969, 'Hum Dono' is a legendary 'lost' British jazz plate, described by Trunk as the best modern British jazz LP of all time that will set you back a good £2000 second hand - if you're lucky enough to find a copy. Its beguiling mix of East meets West rhythms, ideas and joy pits Jamaican free jazz virtuoso Joe Harriott and Indian guitarist Amancio D'Silva against some of the UK jazz elite's most essential players. Blending library-style exotica with tabla rhythms, cascading vocals and lively, labyrinthine guitar licks, it's a horizontal and surprisingly accessible smoker's delight.

Dave Green introduces us with a walking bassline on 'Stephano's Dance', joined by Norma Winstone on vocals, Bryan Spring on drums and Ian Carr on flugelhorn before Harriott adds lead horn and D'Silva augments the composition with feather-light strums. It's music that's undoubtedly inspired by free jazz and fusion, but channels in a different direction, no doubt captivated by London's unhinged energy in the late 1960s. Winstone's wordless vocalisations are particularly charming, perfectly capturing the city's obsession with exotica and coming across like a lullaby from beneath the ocean. This mood is cut through by D'Silva's unusual, wiry riffs, as inspired by South Asian classical and folk music as they are blues.

'Ballad For Goa' makes these inspirations even more upfront, but never careers into new age (it's resolutely not Indo-jazz), playing carefully ornate licks over restrained, post-bop instrumentation and Winstone's ethereal coos. It's still modern jazz, but struck through with ideas that have left an indelible mark on the genre - there's a damn good reason why this LP has been such an enduring milestone in the Brit jazz canon. On the title track, Bryan Spring trades his kit for tabla, and these clipped, earthy rhythms provide a subtly different focus, leaving bags of space for Harriott's lyrical horn fluctuations and D'Silva's masterfully restrained performance - psychedelic and resonant. And the record closes with its most blissful moment 'Jaipur', a blunted fusion of Winstone's scats, Carr and Harriott's horn wails, Green's gentle plucks and D'Silva's delicate fingerpicking. 

One of the most compelling albums ever recorded by British alto genius Joe Harriott – a very unusual record that has him working with guitarist Amanico D'Silva, in a style that's got some wonderful modal undertones! The feel here is a bit like Harriott's work with Michael Garrick – minus piano, of course – as he and D'Silva work through some tunes that are long, filled with complicated rhythms, yet still have a magically dancing sound. The mood shifts a bit from track to track – as Norma Winstone comes in for wordless vocals on two numbers, and Ian Carr blows a bit on one tune – and there's one short track on the record that only features Harriott's alto next to a bit of drums. Great stuff all around

Cat. number: JBH099LP
Year: 2014
On sticker: "THE BEST BRITISH JAZZ LP OF ALL TIME. WELL I THINK IT IS." JONNY TRUNK 2023 REPRESSED IN CLASSIC FLIPBACK SLEEVE TOO! On back-sleeve: Original pressing 1969. This pressing P&C Trunk Records 2023. All rights of the manufacturer and of the owner of the recorded work reserved. Unauthorised copying, public performance and broadcasting of this record prohibited. Made in EU. Exclusively licensed to Trunk Records Limited Sleeve Adapted by Paul Flack www.flackvisual.com