Lyn's Une - Alyn Cosker -

I am no Jazz expert. I won't even place myself among the Jazz lovers but once in a while there is an album I just get. And even if I don't get the history and background, I certainly get the music. Alyn Cosker's first recording Lyn's Une- originally meant to be Alyn's Tune but misspelled by his dad and the abbreviated name stuck to the piece and now the album-is one of those Jazz discs I genuinely enjoy.

As far away from fusion or free Jazz as possible to probably have him face snobbery from the 'true' guardians of the genre, Cosker walks us through twelve original tracks each with a different story, mood and grounded in a distinct style. From the late-night bar ambiance of "Oh Dear" to the Soul inspiration in "Straight Through Bugaloo", Cosker and his seven partners in music prove that they truly own each style and have made those compositions theirs.

When I first received the SACD from Linn and learned that Cosker is the drummer with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, I feared that the music would be heavily weighted towards drums but this preconception was totally undeserved. Cosker is far too creative and diverse a composer to fall into such an easy trap. Of course the drums are there but they never overwhelm and they don't necessarily take the lead or center stage. My favorite track probably remains the introduction to "Smiling Down" where Maureen McMullan's voice-she's the vocalist on this mostly instrumental disc-is multi-tracked for some almost translucent surreal effects. Too bad the introduction is only a minute. I could dream for hours on that stuff.

As always, Linn's recording engineers have done a superb job giving each instrument its space and unique qualities, with the overall tonality being slightly more open and resolved than I am used to from them - never extreme mind you but not as dense as some of their classical music recordings yet still with a huge soundstage and 'surround' effects even from the 2-channel track. This is a highly recommended discovery for anyone interested in finding out what young jazz composers are up to these days. Actually, it's great music too.
25 January 2010