Nat Birchall – Guiding Spirit [JMANLP089]


Guiding Spirit was second album by Nat Birchall for the fledgling Manchester label Gondwana Records back in 2010. The follow-up to the remarkable debut of Akhenaten found him exploring different textures using percussion and instruments like the kora and the harp. It was also the first time Nat had recorded on the soprano saxophone, featured here on the songs Keep the Light Shining and Higher Regions. Nat reveals a concept on the instrument quite unlike most other contemporary players of the higher-pitched horn, his sound more akin to the keening tone of the Indian shenai master, Bismillah Khan, perfectly in keeping with the music’s more “Eastern” sounding leanings. The music here is firmly rooted in the modal jazz world of Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane and others who sought to expand upon the avenues of expression originally forged by John Coltrane in the heady days of the early 1960s. As has often been pointed out by commentators however, this is no pastiche or “re-make”. This is the real thing, played absolutely in the now, but played from and in the spirit of then. Originally released only in CD format, Jazzman Records are proud to make this music available on vinyl for the first time.

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Nat Birchall – Guiding Spirit [JMANLP089]

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