Rescued From The Vaults: Jason Rebello’s A Clearer View (1990)

This is a fabulous Wayne Shorter-produced album by a London-based piano prodigy who I believe was just 20 when it came out. Rebello’s compositions are certainly influenced by the sax master – anyone who’s spent any time trying to decode the Atlantis album will relish hearing a slightly more accessible version here. But Jason’s touch and voicings are very much his own.

Built on tricky bass/piano vamps and surprising chord sequences, A Clearer View brilliantly sidesteps the fusion clichés of some other UK bands of the time. The beautiful long ballads like the title track and ‘Ship To Shore’ are reminiscent of Lyle Mays’ best work with their widescreen ambience and elegant, extended piano solos.

Wayne’s very slick production and some pristine, treble-heavy mastering may initially fool you into thinking this is going to be like a super-charged version of a Joe Sample album, but Jason’s quirky compositions and a cooking rhythm section consistently elevate it from simply being easy-listening fuzak. A fine core of UK musicians deliver some superb, sensitive jazz/rock playing. Jeremy Stacey on drums, in particular, is a revelation.

A Clearer View was a decent seller on its 1990 release, no doubt helped by an expensive marketing push and some substantial airplay on Jazz FM. Rebello and Shorter shared some interview space at the time in a long on-air conversation with Jez Nelson. Rebello also played this material live to great effect, a Jazz Cafe gig being particularly memorable.

Any fans of Wayne Shorter, ’80s Chick Corea, Kenny Kirkland or Lyle Mays would be well advised to check out A Clearer View. It sounds as good today as it did in 1990. At that time, it was also a great relief to hear some quality British jazz not directly influenced by the Young Lions/Marsalis school of thought. I’d love to share some of it but there are NO clips on YouTube…

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