REVIEW: Flight Mode


The Strad issue



Jazz violin playing that experiments with boundaries of the medium


Chris Garrick (violin) ?David Gordon (keyboards) Ole Rasmussen (double bass) Tom Hooper (drums)



Chris Garrick’s first release as a bandleader for five years finds the British jazz violinist on fine form. As a successful session musician and sideman, he has limited time for his own projects, but that does mean the music on Flight Mode has benefited from a long gestation period. Garrick and his rhythm section tackle a mix of standards and original material with panache and sympathetic ensemble playing.

The new album is built around an epic 23-minute programmatic piece by Garrick entitled 5-way Suite. The composition is a vehicle for Garrick’s own special combination of wit and improvisational flair. Each movement has its own mood – Pigeon Among the Cats is suitably mischievous, When We Wake Up We’ll Be Somewhere Else a delicate ballad – with Garrick switching between acoustic and electric fiddles accordingly.

The range of timbres Garrick conjures with his various instruments is impressive, from a warm tone for his sweeter melodies to a raw, clean sound for the faster material (which he dispatches with pin-sharp accuracy). Ever keen to experiment with the boundaries of jazz violin playing, Garrick even plays a seven-stringed Jordan electric violin and plunges happily into the lower registers, adding further colour to an already richly textured set of pieces.

Tim Woodall