Local Colour is an excellent 1966 album by free jazz pianist Peter Lemer, otherwise known for his work with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and In Cahoots. Originally released by ESP, the reissue that came out earlier this year has been flying under the radar -- which is unfortunate, considering the quality of this date. The rip seems to come from an earlier cd issue, as the scans that came with it feature a slightly different cover. Aside from Lemer on piano, Local Colour features a number of other well-known players from the UK jazz scene: John Surman on baritone and soprano saxes, Nisar Ahmad Khan on tenor, Tony Reeves playing bass, and John Hiseman on the drums. Full of dark, Dolphy-like themes and elliptical song structures, the quintet strike that rare balance between formal continuity and unfettered freedom. "Ictus" is an amazing take on a Carla Bley composition, beginning with a winding, rapid-fire theme before moving into some spirited group interplay, while "City" finds Surman and Khan spitting out abrupt, razor-sharp horn lines over Lemer's simple, metallic plucking of the piano strings. "In the Out" sports a very Jackie McLean-esque aesthetic, only a bit more unhinged; the explosive combination of Lemer's jabbing chords with Hiseman's tumultuous drums and an uproarious solo by Khan makes one wonder why the British pianist hasn't recorded more often as a leader. And one shouldn't forget the bass work of Reeves, who provides some much-needed foundation throughout the session with a style both ghostly and intense. Feel free to stretch out and enjoy this fine, fine gem from the golden age of British improv.
Peter Lemer - City.mp3 (192 kbps, 11.5 mb)
Peter Lemer - Local Colour (ESP, 1966).zip