Hitherto, Ian Ritchie has hidden his jazz light under a bushel of studio activity, producing, composing and doing session work for the likes of Aswad, the Beach Boys and Laurie Anderson; here, he leads a sparky but intense quartet through a selection of his own tunes, all dedicated to an area of Soho. Ritchie's themes are unfussy and immediately accessible, but come into their own as hospitable chord sequences for extended soloing both from his own tenor, a breathy, occasionally pleasantly fruity sound utilizing an emotive vibrato where needed and propelled by a sinewy energy, and from pianist Alex Hutton. The latter is a real find, capable of slow-building, intelligently worked solos that specialize in teasing rhythmic displacement and a cunning use of space, and often culminate in splashy but carefully controlled climaxes. The album's overall atmosphere is relaxed and wholly unpretentious, but the band's sound, whether spearheaded by Ritchie's engagingly bleary tenor or his more strident soprano, is confidently interactive, vigorous and punchy, propelled as it is by the unshowy but powerful rhythm section of bassist Tony Fry and drummer Vladimiro Carboni. Promising much for live performances, this is one of the most assured and listenable debut albums in recent years.
Chris Parker. ( for the Vortex jazz magazine )
Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Willing to teach:
Experienced professional saxophonist Ian Ritchie is taking new pupils in the New Year. Having returned to London after a two year world tour with Roger Waters playing "Dark Side Of The Moon" and other major works from the Pink Floyd catalogue, he now has time to devote to aspiring saxophonists seeking improvement. Ritchie has played on records by Wham, The Beach Boys, Ash, Aswad and many more. He is active on the London jazz scene with his group Ian Ritchie's SOHO Project. He can be heard every day on TV playing the "Working Lunch" theme as well as his own "Globetrekker" theme. He is offering tuition in the basics of saxophone technique, embouchure etc. through to the intricacies of jazz improvisation and harmony. Beginners to advanced players welcome. Please email initially to discuss arranging a course of lessons and fees etc.