Something British Made in Hong Kong

Graham Collier

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Something British Made in Hong Kong Review

by Steve Loewy

You could easily term British composer and bassist Graham Collier the "stealth genius" of British jazz without being too far from the mark. Through the years, and particularly the decade of the 1970s, he wrote and arranged compositions that together form a fertile collection rarely rivaled, yet he has continued to remain a somewhat obscure figure. His work from the 1980s to the present is often not nearly as compelling as his earlier output. Recorded in Hong Kong during a tour of the Far East in 1985 with players familiar with his methods, Something British Made in Hong Kong does not stand up well over time. Although the sound quality on the CD reissue is adequate (evidently it was worse on the original LP issue on Mosaic), it does not compensate for the lack of focus, which is likely to disappoint Colliers's followers, particularly considering that the album was released after the composer's superb Day of the Dead, after a hiatus of several years The heavy use of synthesizers and electric guitar in the sextet coupled with sometimes mediocre improvisations and a generally open approach to composition leaves the listener's ears wandering, offset only by the sense that Collier is experimenting. Collier chucks his bass in favor of a Roland synthesizer, which makes little impression, and while there are some pleasant contributions from Geoff Warren on flute and sax and from longtime collaborator Ed Speight on rock guitar, there is little here that reflects the creative qualities that mark so many of Collier's earlier releases.

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