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Press » Clown Revisited
“Truly original musicians can often find inspiration in those types of music that appear at first to be hopelessly uncool. The rest of us just have to play catch up. And so it is with London-based pianist/keyboardist and composer Nick Ramm. Formed in 2003, his five-pice band Clown Revisited was originally inspired by a short tour of Denmark and Holland playing keyboard with a travelling circus, of all things. On his debut album released this month on the F-ire Collective recording imprint, there's certainly echoes of the fun-and-thrills fantasy world of the big top. But that's far from the whole story. You may have heard Ramm contributing to some of the adventurous bands linked to the F-ire Collective including Timeline, Oriole, and Jade Fox and the big band Synergy but Clown Revisited gives us the first real taste of his unique strengths as a composer too. On Flashes of a Normal World Ramm's excellent melodious themes and witty, ideas-packed arrangements betray the influence of maverick Brazilian Hermeto Pascoal, the global Englishness of Loose Tubes/Django Bates, and the European school of Stravinsky and Weill's light-hearted theatre chamber works. Entertainment isn't a dirty word here too: the Broadway musical, Moulin Rouge burlesque, the oompah type street band riffs of Chicago and second-line New Orleans are either consciously or unconsciously a part of Ramm's aesthetic. It's quite rare at the moment, but entirely refreshing to find a serious jazz artist unafraid of making what is essentially light-hearted, yet creative improvised music. Ramm is joined by an unusual line up consisting of cello (Ben Davis), tuba (Oren Marshall), drums and percussion (Dave Price) and flute (Finn Peters) and a mate Jack Sims who recites a poem 'There are Many Ways' in an English tea room type instrumental setting. The tuba player extraordinaire Oren Marshall plays a typically diverse role from a New Orleans/Chicago style bass through to more avant improvisation.This is very percussive music and while Ramm seems to prefer his band to imply the groove, perhaps a steamier percussion section might have given an extra boost to a couple of tracks. As it is though, this is an unfashionably charming and unique debut from a musician who's worth keeping a very close eye on.”
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