Somnambule - Writing About Music

Spring Heel Jack ~ The Sweetness Of The Water

Spring Heel Jack have traced a singular odyssey over the last 15 years taking in pop production, breakbeat science and unusual reworkings of Rodgers and Hammerstein standards. Seen from this perspective, their sudden left turn into the occasionally blasted lands of free improvisation makes a weird kind of sense. This is their fourth release for New York’s Thirsty Ear and it sees Spring Heel Jack continue to invite top rank improvisors from both sides of the Atlantic to explore settings which the duo then edit and arrange. The Sweetness Of The Water sees John Coxon take a more prominent role in proceedings with his musical partner Ashley Wales continuing to make subtly essential contributions. The music here is notably more meditative than on previous outings. Coxon and Wales’s interventions take courage to make, but their stark, warm production reveals the often haunting beauty of their guests’ playing to great effect.
Colin Buttimer
June 2004
Published by Jazzwise magazine