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Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Thursday, 06 April 2023 03:34

Gabriel Latchin – Viewpoint

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British pianist delivers his best album to date.

Viewpoint, the new album by British pianist Gabriel Latchin, has got a decidedly retro-feel to it, like one of the classic Blue Note albums from the 1960s. It is straight-ahead jazz, with no special guests, no electronics and nothing designed to appeal to the “crossover” crowd, and maybe because of that, it sounds stripped-back, fresh and fun.

As with his three previous albums as leader, Latchin has stuck with the trio format, but the line-up has changed. The experienced UK bass player, Jeremy Brown, comes in on bass, whilst veteran US drummer, Joe Farnsworth – who has played with everyone from McCoy Tyner, Pharaoh Sanders and Diana Krall – completes the trio. It is also the first album that is entirely self-composed, which speaks to the leader’s growing confidence as a composer.

The album opens with the lively, be-bop oriented Says Who. The tune was apparently inspired by Gershwin’s But Not For Me, but it is given a more uptempo-read than normally associated with that tune, with Farnsworth driving the trio to good effect.

Two of the new tunes are inspired by the pianist’s children. His daughter, Mairi – nicknamed Primrose – is captured in Prim and Proper. Prim she may be, but with a playful side too, if this tune is anything to go by. It is followed here by the more delicate A Mother’s Love, which was written immediately after the birth of his second son, Oscar, and captures the wealth of emotions that come with such momentous events.

Watch the video for A Mother's Love here:

Elsewhere, other tunes are inspired by the pianist’s musical heroes. The excellent Train Of Thought sounds like mid-1960s Hancock, which is never a bad thing, while the album’s closer, A Song For Herbie, sounds closer in style to Maiden Voyage-era Hancock, with a beautiful melody. Listen out for Farnsworth’s impressive drumming on the former, too.

Elsewhere O Mito (The Legend) was written as a tribute to Joao Gilberto, and features a swinging Latin vibe that demonstrates how well the new line-up has gelled, as well as a fine solo by Latchin himself. 

The pacy A Stitch In Time was another favourite of mine, demonstrating the leader’s skill as a soloist, as well as the fine support offered by both Brown and Farnsworth. Impressive stuff.

Whilst one can still hear Latchin’s inspirations on this new album, the viewpoints he expresses are very much his own, making this his best album yet.


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