|“a band of astonishing virtuosity…”
Humphrey Lyttleton’s ‘Best of Jazz’ Radio 2.
|“Longtime stalwart of the London jazz community, reedsman Kelvin Christiane, showcases nine powerful new compositions on this strong CD. Whether on tenor, soprano, alto or flute, Kelvin moves from straight ahead to radio- friendly crossover. With interactive support from in-demand pianist Ross Stanley, acoustic and electric bassist David McLeod, and drummer Noel Joyce, a dream rhythm team who combine fire and sensitivity. For Kelvin Christiane this album is another leap onwards and upwards.”
Jim Mullen, September 2010 review for ‘Wigger’.
The Spin Club: November 2008
|“Christiane is an excellent tenor saxophonist, with a warm broad tone and clean singing high notes which are highly emotive, and with sometimes a Trane cry in his sound…”
Ian Carr from the liner notes for ‘Red Dawn’
“Inventive and committed. Kelvin is clearly one to look out for and hear whenever the opportunity arises.”
|“A Jazzman palpably straining at the leash- one to watch.”
John Fordham, The Guardian.
|“Christiane is a player to follow.”
Barry McRae, Jazz Journal International.
|“virtuoso… rampaging tenor saxophonist that explodes the myth of British understatement…”
Humphrey Lyttleton, ‘Best of Jazz’ October 2005.
|Reviews for “Red Dawn” by the Kelvin Christiane Quartet
This is refreshing group of vituosi whose memory of bebop and hardbop is leavened by the spirits of both Coltrane, and more particularly, Roland Kirk. Christiane is an excellent tenor saxophonist, with a warm broad tone and clean, singing high notes which are highly emotive and with sometimes a Trane cry in his sound. He’s also a fine flautist.
Perrin’s accompaniments are wonderfully varied and his piano solos never fail to sparkle. The rhythm section is also superlative with bassist Howles and Clifford – one of the master drummers.
The repertoire is nicely eclectic - the title track is a powerfully swinging blues with an attractive and unusual theme composed by Christiane, and Tadd Dameron’s “Our Delight” gets a dynamic bebop airing. Carl Fischer’s lovely ballad “We’ll be together again” is given a tender and beatific performance with an outstanding tenor solo and a fine bass solo with very imaginative piano accompaniment. Christiane plays flute on Jobim’s “Corcovado” and solos with great panache. Two other blues with Roland Kirk connections are also given an airing. “Two for the Festival” has Christiane playing tenor and alto simultaneously for the theme. Then changing to flute for his solo which includes dramatic stop choruses in which he creates the hoarse flute tone that characterised Kirk’s untamed playing of the instrument. However, the most interesting and contemporary sounding piece is Christiane’s “Thunder Beings” which has a unique structure with changing tempos, angular phrases, big punctuations, strong solos and quiet elegiac passages. The album concludes with Kirk’s “Blues for A & T” which has urgent tenor and piano solos and terminates with a mighty drum solo and a wild ending. This album runs the gamut of the emotions.
Ian Carr, 18th May 2002.
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|Review for “Awakening”
New to me, this is an excellent band of young British hard boppers who play with flair and enthusiasm. The leader's playing (he is heard mostly on tenor) is inventive and committed. As he is also composer and arranger of all titles this is clearly a young man to look out for and hear whenever the opportunity arises. There is also a great deal of drive and swing from the rhythm section. I particularly liked the opening track, “Sam's Boogie”, the hint of menace in the introduction to “Joy Of The Spheres”, and the elegantly introspective “Faith”. I would like to be able to tell you something about these musicians but the sleeve note simply lists titles, personnel and a handful of credits and acknowledgements. As the album is self-produced they seem to have missed a good opportunity for some valuable publicity. Anyway, it's the music that counts and, here, it counts for rather a lot. I look forward to more where this came from. Very good sound.
Bruce Crowther, Jazz Journal International, October 1992.
|Review for “Live at the 6”
Reviewing some early Blakey Messengers CD's recently it was re-inforced in my mind how much better those early bands sounded when recorded in clubs under favourable conditions. The same may well be true for Kelvin Christiane for although I haven't heard any studio sets by him, this live performance at the 606 in West London sparkles with good, modern jazz energy and commitment to the cause. The opening “Violet Rain” is a hard, swinging workout for just about everybody and they all acquit themselves well. The leader has a very distinctive sound on tenor sax with a tone compounded of several parts Coltrane, a few Roland Kirk and his own penchant for dipping into the lower register effectively; a happy combination. Ohm's long solo is a gem of musical percussion, very well structured and skilfully executed.
The tribute to Kirk, “Blue Road”, has Kelvin playing tenor and alto simultaneously as Roland did and then going into a personalised alto solo full of unexpected twists and turns and well structured blues licks. Then comes a dark textured tenor solo dipping frequently into those subterranean regions that normally only contra-bass players inhabit. Perrin solos brightly, his touch light and scorchingly incandescent. “Letting Go” is an atmospheric ballad touched by gloom and despondency if I read the leader's solo correctly. Even here though, there are flashes of optimism heralding fresh starts and new beginnings.
Corea's “500 Miles High” features fluctuating aspects of the flute sound in a varied solo using different ways of playing the instrument. The final “In Walked Bud” is a heart-felt tribute to Thelonius Monk extracting the essence of the composer's quirky melody without slavish plagiarism. There is no fully understanding Monk but to dig him you need to love the music of the jazz world's major iconclasts and have a pervasive sence of humour. Kelvin and his sidemen appreciate him fully.
Derek Ansell, Jazz Journal International, June 2002.
|Review for “Salute the Sun”
The work of Kelvin Christiane had evaded me, but on this evidence he is an impressive writer, showing a thorough and creative command of contemporary idiom. His compositions are variously reminiscent of M-Base players like Greg Osby and Gary Thomas (“Salute The Sun”), latter-day Wayne Shorter (“River”) and the straightahead post - Coltrane tradition (swing on “Journey”, Latin on “Firefly”), and he shows a virtually unfailing instance for musical development. He has assembled a very proficient crew to deliver music which often demands great precision, and he has, in Angilley, a very good soloist. The leader is a capable improviser too, perhaps at his best on “River”. As if to remind us that he is a fully rounded musical personality, he closes the set with a mildly incongruous conventional reading of “My One And Only Love”. Altogether an impressive showing for a not overexposed talent.
Mark Gilbert, Jazz Journal International, September 1998.
|Review of “Tribute to Roland Kirk”
A musical tribute to the legendary multi - instrumentalist Roland Kirk.
This album is more than a mere tribute to Kirk. Christiane shows himself well able to handle Rahsaan's trademark skills. 'Two horns at once' are delivered with some panche on “Moonray” and “Rahsaan”, he has no trouble with circular breathing and his voice over flute is similarly passionate on “Cuckoo” and “My Ship” He even captures the cadence of his hero's tenor line on “Moonray”. It suggests that he is at least conversant with several important muses, although his own personality is more evidently displayed in the calm flow of his clarinet on “Serenity”. Overall the album suggests that Christiane is a player to be followed.
Barry McRae, Jazz Journal International, November 2000.
|Review of “Great Spirit”
From the moment you hear the punchy, Art Blakey-ish ensemble exclamations of the opener by this classy British band you know you're in safe hands. It's appropriate that the young saxophonist and leader Kelvin Christiane should have made the second CD of his career for Danny Thompson's much-acclaimed new Jazz Label, devoted as it is to the independent spirits of British jazz - because Christiane is certainly one of them. A saxophonist and flautist who also studied composition at Leeds College of Music - a broad education reflected in the fact that all the tracks here are his own work - Christiane is one of the most promising of the players on the British circuit who take their inspiration from bop, Latin jazz and the great African - American soloists of the Fifties and Sixties.