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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Theo Travis All I Know

All I Know - an anthology
Theo Travis
33 Records

Since the mid-90s Theo Travis has built up an impressive series of appearances on a commendably diverse number of releases. Thus his name will be found next to Jade Warrior, Porcupine Tree, Anja Garbarek, David Sylvian, Gong, Robert Fripp, Soft Machine Legacy and many others. In addition to such prestigious guest spots and collaborations, is an equally impressive back catalogue of solo releases.

All I Know provides a useful 2-disc compendium of his work primarily as a band leader and a composer. Whether he’s fronting up a classy jazz quartet or delving into sparser, ambient atmospherics, the clarity of his lyrical playing comes across loud and clear.

Influenced by Stan Getz, Travis imbues nearly everything he plays with a silky, unperturbed tone whether its some relatively staid, unassuming compositions or his more elaborate, freewheeling works with unflappable grace and style.

Travis’ razor-sharp engagement with his own compositions or occasional covers such as Here Comes That Rainy Day from 2001’s Heart of the Sun, or 21st Century Schizoid Man (2004’s Earth To Ether), are both inventive and robust enough to avoid allegations of being too easy on the ear or obvious in any way.

Psychogroove (1994’s View From The Edge) exercises both the complex and caustic aspects of his musical personality, whilst a barn-storming live version of The Relegation of Pluto, originally featured on the uniformly excellent studio album, Double Talk (2007), and featuring Pete Whittaker’s incendiary organ work and Mark Outram’s potent guitar, provides thrills aplenty.

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