Nat Birchall – Afro Trane (Vinyl LP)


Hailed by Gilles Peterson as “one of the best musicians in the UK”, saxophonist Nat Birchall remains one of the UK’s hidden jazz treasures. Playing tenor and soprano saxophones, he is a band leader, composer and arranger ( and occasional DJ ) who has grabbed listeners attention with his soulful sound and inspirational spiritual music.


Third all-solo outing from Nat Birchall. This time Nat pays homage to the patron saint of the tenor saxophone, John Coltrane. With a balanced programme of original songs and John Coltrane compositions the album focusses on the more Afrocentric aspects of the music.released May 27, 2022

Nat Birchall – Tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, zurna, piano, Korg Minilogue, harmonium, bass, drums, hand drums, mbira, percussion.

As you can guess from the title, the spirit of John Coltrane looms large on the record – and the tracks are a mix of Coltrane classics and new material by Nat – performed in these long, flowing modes that balance soulful lines on tenor and soprano with work on percussion, mbira, harmonium, piano, and even a bit of bass clarinet – the latter of which is a nod to a key moment when Eric Dolphy stepped in to the Coltrane group! Yet despite the Coltrane influence, the sound here is very original – all Nat’s own, as he layers his performances on the other instruments with really well-crafted saxophone solos – at a level that feels much more like a small spiritual combo presenting the music than just Birchall alone. Tremendously beautiful – even better on record than it sounds on paper – with titles that include “Trane’s Garden”, “Dahomey Dance”, “India”, “Folk Song For Trane”, “Acknowledgement”, and “Afro Train”.

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