Nat Birchall Quintet - Live in Larissa ★★★★
Garry Booth - 01.06.2014 Jazz Journal U.K.
I once chatted briefly with Nat Birchall after a show. He was playing alongside fellow Lancastrian Matt Halsall, the trumpet player. He came over as a supremely centered and serene person, which is pretty much what you’d expect listening to his music. This cracking recording, made over two nights in a small Greek jazz bar, captures Birchall stretching out with tunes from earlier albums, especially last year’s World Without Form. Like his mentor, Birchall manages to sustain intensity without risking the listener becoming inured, dispensing pure emotion through the modal medium, carrying his sidemen with him on the transcendental wave. Maybe they put more than fluoride in the Manchester water? (Garry Booth) ****