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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 169 - 06/26/10

Never Pet A Burning Dog
MoonJune Records

douBt is an international trio of Alex Maguire (keyboards, Britain), Michel Delville (guitars, Belgium) and Tony Bianco (drums, NYC). They're all experienced musicians in the world of jazz and all of them have collaborated with the late Elton Dean (sax player with Keith Tippett, Soft Machine, Soft Works, Soft Machine Legacy, In Cahoots, his own quartets and quintets etc., etc.) some way or another. Never Pet A Burning Dog was recorded during two days last August and seems to consist of mainly freely arranged and partly improvised compositions. The three members have written two compositions each. In addition and especially of interest for us nationalistic Norwegians, there is a great guitar-driven version of "Over Birkerot" from Terje Rypdal's classic 1975 album Odyssey. Quite fascinating all of it, though some of the most neck-breaking parts are of the kind I'd prefer to witness live rather than on record.

But, there is a special offering here in addition. Two songs, sung by special guest Richard Sinclair. Richard is an old clever Dick, one of the most central musicians in the movement labelled the Canterbury scene. He was a member of The Wilde Flowers in 1964, later with Caravan, Hatfield & The North, Camel and a host of other constellations within and outside the scene. I haven't heard anything from Richard since he guested on a song on the (still) latest album by Norwegian Panzerpappa, Koralrevens Klagesang, about four years ago. On Never Pet A Burning Dog he sings his heart out on the opening track "Corale Di San Luca" and it's as melancholic and beautiful as can be. For a moment I wondered if it was his old band-mate Robert Wyatt I heard. Richard also demonstrates his bass abilities and the latter half of this track and the consecutive "Laughter" proves he knows how to play and improvise in a jazz manner as well as the other three musicians. "Passing Cloud" written by Maguire and Sinclair is the other gem sung by Richard.

The album was recorded in labelmate Beppe Crovella's studio in San Sebastiano da Pó in Italy and I guess the final track "Beppe's Shelter" was written on the spot. After a few spins I have less and less doubts about douBt, and Richard Sinclair's voice really saved the day.

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