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LANDERMASON - Tree of Souls

Tree of Souls
Lander & Mason LAMA005.

‘We mix up folk and jazz, like no-one else has quite the way we do’ sums it up. Consummately skilled and assured musicians Fiona Lander (vocals, piano, clarinet, saxophones, whistles), and Paul Mason (vocals, guitars, fretless bass, harmonica, gazouki), and some guests, provide another ten wonderful pieces. All self penned, apart from their working of The Lambton Worm, there are songs about places, industrial life, relationships (with keen emotional insight) and their own commitment to life as an independent musical duo - no ordinary life - pursuing happiness through good health and enough wealth (and, I suspect, glasses of red wine!), all arranged with delightfully crafted instrumental passages.

The recording, from ‘the shed down the bottom of the garden’ in Bellingham in their home Northumberland, is exceptionally bright, tight and clear. Fiona’s sweet voice, their delightful piano and guitar lines, and clever use of percussion for colour and detail, are melded together to create refreshingly original music drawing principally on folk and jazz (at times Chamber Jazz), always melodic, perfectly executed, often with really interesting inflections and detail, and some very infectious hooks (especially Living on a Shoestring). Their live duo performances display very precise synchronicity across their instruments and a real harmonious joy in playing out their sophisticated tunes and rhythms for their audience. The presentation, featuring Paul’s artwork is (as with the previous CD ‘The Reason’), very high quality and all lyrics are provided. Excellent.

Kevin T Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 85 of The Living Tradition magazine.