Andy Middleton: Up the River


Up the River


Andy Middleton (tenor sax)


The European Quartet Live (Rious QRM 109-2)

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Andy Middleton (tenor sax),

Tino Derado (piano), Paul Imm (bass), Alan Jones (drums)


Composed by Andy Middleton


Recorded: live at Hanover Hall and Birdland, Hamburg, Germany, April 11-12, 2005


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Now living in Vienna, Andy Middleton has surrounded himself with fellow musicians who can totally lose themselves in their music. On "Up the River" they do just that. Middleton plays with a fire on tenor sax that reminds me a great deal of Jan Garbarek in tone and attack. He has a fluid sense of rhythm and plays with great emotion throughout. He is joined on this musical river journey by his more than able bandmates, while the crowd hangs on in awe for 14+ minutes.

Starting with Imm's pulsating bass intro, Middleton aggressively states his melodic message. Derado is a deceptively musical stylist whose wandering right hand attacks the keys with both sensitivity and fervor, while his left pounds out tonally matching chords. After building great tension during his solo, he yields to Middleton, whose brilliant use of space is uncannily effective. When he does fill the lines, he does so with a wonderfully measured yet propulsive style that is quite refreshing. When he climbs into the upper register, he lingers just enough to make his point before returning to the middle, where he resides with great effect. Alan Jones plays an impassioned polyrhythmic drum solo toward the end that stirs the already simmering pot to its boiling point. A top-notch live performance that is worth hearing again and again.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello


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