The Dancing Flute - The Flute and Piano Music of Geoff Eales
Geoff Eales and Andy Findon are two of the UK’s most inspirational and eclectic musicians and nowhere is this better exemplified than on their new album “The Dancing Flute” which features thirteen compositions by Geoff. The CD is a testament to the duo’s all-inclusiveness with classical, jazz, Latin and folk influences all present. Andy plays a variety of flutes including alto flute, bass flute, piccolo and penny-whistle, the album a celebration of the life-enhancing qualities of the dance.
"Andy Findon and Geoff Eales's The Dancing Flute is a CD for solo flute and piano that ranges from warm free-flowing jazz with virtuosic tendencies to tinges of, say, Pat Metheny. For me it's perfect Saturday morning music. When you're putting on your second pot of tea and you're throwing open the curtains and the shutters, this is the disc you want on your player. It's full of inventiveness and colour and is so fresh." BBC Music Magazine
'Andy Findon and pianist Geoff Eales creates an enjoyable fusion of classical and popular styles.
From the outset, the high recording quality is evident, with the rich piano sound evenly balanced against Findon’s flute. Eternal Dance provides virtuosic displays from both players, with strong rhythms and unfaltering energy throughout. This cannot help but dazzle, and the popular style is attractive and catchy. The more relaxed jazz style of Song for my Mother is equally appealing, with warm harmonies and a touching atmosphere. The pounding energy of In Pocket is infectious, with another impressive display of finger technique and ensemble playing. The central slow section is expressively and beautifully phrased, and the mood contrasts with the impressively executed unisons which lead into the recap. There is a sense of joy about the end of this track and it can’t help but elicit a smile.
Remembrance is a soulful and melodic track, with an expressive piano solo in the centre. The two instruments weave around each other with a sense of flow and contemplative introspection. Elf Dance has some sprightly rhythmic patterns over a rock-style piano texture. Lochria’s Rhumba is a gentle and light-hearted track for alto flute and piano which would make an excellent encore piece for a low flutes recital. In the Eyes of a Child has an effectively simple opening and a well shaped tin whistle melody, which is beautifully played. There is something nostalgic about this track, and Findon’s range of expression proves that this is an instrument which can be taken seriously and used to excellent musical effect. Farewell Patagonia is in an appealing Tango style, and includes both humour and brilliance. The Sad Little Geisha Girl has an atmospheric jazz feel and a mournful mood. Force 11 features the piccolo in a contemporary-styled opening, which breaks away to a rhythmically punchy, almost Shostakovich-esque melody over a Brubeck-style piano ostinato. The laid back bass flute of Ice Maiden has a darkly Latin feel, while Pan Dance is another up-tempo fling, with energy in abundance. The disc’s final track, The Last Kiss, is a smooth waltz with well-phrased melody lines and a gently undulating accompaniment.
The music is popular in feel and likely to appeal to a wide ranging audience.' Carla Rees, Pan Magazine, March 2013
'It's always good to listen to music we know and love, but it's even more refreshing and enjoyable to listen to new original material, especially when it is this good and so well performed' - Liz Goodwin, Flutewise, May 2013
'Though he’s an outstanding Jazz pianist, Geoff Eales studied composition under Alun Hoddinott and this selection of thirteen pieces shows the lighter, more compact side of his compositional nature. The works are for flute and piano and celebrate the joys of the dance.
The flautist is the exceptional Andy Findon who wields, as well, the penny whistle and piccolo. Eternal Dance is a catchy opener with Eales providing super-abundant and articulate jazz licks. Song for my Mother plays on the Horace Silver title and generates a different ambience altogether – warm lyricism. Virtuosity is to the fore in In the Pocket, with its tripartite ABA structure and characteristically elegant soloing from Eales. Wistful nostalgia is present in Remembrance – his titles are always apropos, and the strength of his lyrical inspiration is never in doubt.
Elf Dance, is a flighty swinger with a degree of Roots vibrancy to keep it grounded and there’s an especially nice, lonesome B section where the flute soliloquises sensitively. There’s a mid-tempo lope to Lochria’s Rhumbaand for In the Eyes of a Child Findon wields a penny whistle to impart Gaelic lyric hues. Faster and more international variety is provided by the Tango implicit in Farewell Patagonia whilst Eales’ inspiration in The Sad Little Geisha Girl is from a book, and is openly rhapsodic. Lest one suspect all is clement in this recital, there’s an allegro onrush in Force 11, a gale of a piece, not least when Findon is on the piccolo, taking things windy and high. Ice Maiden is played on the bass flute – a mysterious opus. Even the central section of Pan Dance can’t efface Eales’ essentially lyrical gift.
The disc is excellently recorded, succinctly annotated and expands still further Eales’ discography. Roll on the Symphony.' Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International, June 2013
To read the full review please visit: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/June13/Eales_Dancing_Flute_NI6216.htm