Remarkable writing and playing are in dazzling balance
The restlessly gifted Neame has made this set a reeds-harmony exploration
With 2009′s Caught in the Light of Day the young British multi-instrumentalist Ivo Neame showcased both the world-class piano skills that were already his calling card, and a blossoming compositional talent. Vibraphonist Jim Hart and bassist Jasper Hoiby remain from that quartet session, but Yatra is a much more ambitious adventure, with the band expanded to an octet. The restlessly gifted Neame has made this set a reeds-harmony exploration, with five sidemen (including Jason Yarde, Shabaka Hutchings and the composer himself) contributing on saxes, clarinets and flutes – and Neame’s occasional accordion, and Jim Hart’s ever-apposite vibes-playing further enrich the mix. Neame’s knack for spry and surprising postbop writing provides sparky episodes such as the Latin-driven title track and the pumping, slow-brewing Puppet Show Theme. There are also some luminous slow episodes such as the purring Charm Defensive, the flute-led Moody, and the film-noirish Heart Murmurs. It feels occasionally as if Neame has been so excited by his band’s resources that it was hard to decide what to leave out, but remarkable writing and playing are often in dazzling balance.
– John Fordham, The Guardian, 24/09/12