Debut album from the highly influential british jazz group, Perfect Houseplants-originally released on Ah-Um in 1992.
Mark Lockheart - saxes
Huw Warren - piano
Dudley Phillips - bass
Martin France - drums
The band went on to record Clec (EFZ) before signing to Linn Records for Snap Clatter and their collaboration with early music singers The Orlando Consort, Extempore. Their last recording for Linn was New Folk Songs (with special guest recorder player Pamela Thorby) and they also recorded a further collaboration with the Orlando Consort(Extempore II) for Harmonia Mundia USA.
More info is available at www.perfecthouseplants.com
"Perfect Houseplants are one of the most consistently enjoyable Jazz groups to emerge in the last few years.
Specialising in an intelligent and occasionally ironic music"
"Startling arrangements of memorable, multi-styled compositions mark them as a band of exceptional range."
"More drama than the RSC."
"The music is clever without ever sounding pretentious or over complex."
"The most innovative and elegant contemporary Jazz Quartet on the British scene."
"If you don' t like this you don't deserve ears."
"CLEC is a scintillating performance by this British Quartet.
It is a band with a unique personality of it' s own, slightly jokey in manner, but hugely accomplished in execution."
"Artful and witty, their approach is unmistakably European in character, combining memorable , atmospheric compositions with confident, understated playing."
"Every composition springs new textures and forms on the listener.
This is what ears were designed to be pinned back for"
MUSICIAN MAGAZINE OUT
New Folk Songs - Reviews
MOJO, May, 2001
Excellent fifth album by the artful British jazzers.
One of the things that makes this brainiest of contemporary jazz groups so special is that they have always been able to balance their genre-hopping plethora of ingenuity with a palpable beauty. Here, they return to the virtuosic quartet of Head Boys that formed in '92 - Mark Lockheart (saxes), Huw Warren (piano, accordion), Dudley Phillips (bass), Martin France (drums) - for a series of Eastern Arts-commissioned pieces inspired by East Anglia. Smart composers all, you won't find any of these 'new folk songs' reworked on singers' night but there's much here that's moving, in addition to being impressive. Warren particularly has an alluring melancholy streak in his writing, as witnessed by the lovely Old Song New Song, an adaptation of the ancient Brigg Fair, and Dunwich & The Sea, a haunting portrait of the Suffolk town crumbling over eroding cliffs. This band are perilously close to becoming a national treasure.
JAZZWISE, April, 2001
The fact that New Folk Songs was directly inspired by the folk music and landscape of East Anglia may set pulses racing for all the wrong reasons (evoking as it does the stereotypically nightmarish vision of unkempt beards, jesus sandals and horrid sweaters). Let me immediately assuage any doubts: this is a remarkable album, constantly surprising and brilliantly coloured, with some acutely sensitive interplay. The opener 'Pageant' is framed by a circular, minimalist piano riff (with particular echoes of Steve Reich - East anglian Counterpoint?) before settling down into a loping and catchy 7/4 vamp. 'The Lighthouse' is particularly haunting, a tour de force of restraint - once the beguiling slow groove has been established by bass and drums (the excellent pairing of Dudley Phillips and Martin France) a telling dialogue ensues between soprano sax (Mark Lockheart) and recorder (special guest Pamela Thorby, used to great effect on four of the album's 12 tracks). In a typically felicitous use of colour, the track's long fade sees pianist Huw Warren ritualistically marking time with an unchanging two-chord figure, with the 'prepared' piano made to sound like a cimbalom.