When you hear clarinet, one’s mind immediately goes to some swinging big band, or Woody Allen huffing it down every week on Monday’s in NYC to play in a jazz ensemble. In other words, it’s not the coolest instrument in the band in our opinion. However, once we got a listen to the Pete Newman Clarinet Project, our minds were definitely changed. The Cambridge, UK multi-instrumentalist has put forth an interesting effort in Time For Your Bathysphere. This record puts the clarinet in a series of different contexts. Whether it be some funky tracks or world music, Newman gathers up some players to push the sound to the limit and change your mind about your great granddad’s instrument of choice.
The title track, “Time For Your Bathysphere” is a funky good time, and quite honestly, we don’t know if we’ve ever heard it this funky. “Full To Bursting” injects some rock guitar as well as a fusion sound, while tracks like “Insomnia” and “Some Other Time” slink along slowly and sneak up on you like a spring morning’s fog. What we like is the Ethio-inspired “Hoodathortit” and that moves along like some Mulatu Astatke piece and ends in a fast frenzy of woodwinds. “Is It Hot In Here?” touches on some traditional compositions, and rounds out a well played and definitely interesting dozen songs. What we love about this record is that it’s different, and Newman pushes his sound in a variety of different directions, all in the name of jazz. This may not be everyone’s cup of Rosie Lee, but we are glad we got a hold of this one, it’s opened our ears on what this instrument can do. Some unique jazz for sure. Hopefully this one will get pressed up on vinyl. Listen to the title track here:
Get a copy of this album here.