Basho Records - Contemporary JazzBASHO RECORDS


Paul Booth - No Looking Back

Paul Booth

Paul Booth (saxes, alto flute, bass clarinet, melodica, piano), Stuart McCallum (guitars) Mike Gorman (piano), Phil Donkin (bass), Dave Smith (drums)



“No Looking Back” is remarkably mature statement from a highly talented saxophonist and composer. Booth makes the sophisticated sound effortless, and with sparkling support from a highly talented band this latest album should put him firmly on the jazz map. Excellent". Ian Mann 24

"The tag 'one of the hottest young players around' is probably overused in some circles, but where saxophonist Paul Booth is concerned, it's simply a factual description" Vortex Website

“Blistering young saxist, a genuine prodidgy” (The Independent)
“Paul displays a lyricism of the likes of John Coltrane and Stan Getz” (John Fordham)

“He reminds me of a young Tubby Hayes” (Ronnie Scott)

Label: Basho Records
Release Date: 24th September 2007
Title: No Looking Back
Artist: Paul Booth Quintet
Catalogue Number: SRCD 20-2
Barcode: 832929002021

1. No Looking Back 9:23 (PB)
2. Andorra 7:11 (PB)
3. Both Sides Now 7:15 (Joni Mitchell)
4. Penguin Dance 6:29 (PB)
5. Come Sunday 2:37 (Duke Ellington)
6. Better Git It In Your Soul 5:40 (Charles Mingus)
7. Interlude 2.07 (PB)
8. Cross Channel 8.08 (PB)
9. Such Is Life... 6.19 (PB)
10. A Time For Change 8.11 (PB)

2007 is an exciting year for Paul Booth. This year the Paul Booth Quintet are on tour with their new album, and Paul is also touring with rock legend Steve Winwood, Arnie Somogyi’s Ambulance, Tim Garland’s Northern Underground Orchestra and Derek Nash's Sax Appeal. Paul’s second album No Looking Back showcases Paul’s modern melodic sensibilities with intricate rhythms across a number of original compositions. The solid rhythm section underpins some frantic improvisation and there is a real sense of interplay.

Paul Booth (sax)
Paul Booth is one of the most exciting and in demand musicians on the scene today. Although a very prominent figure on the jazz scene with an album released on the Jazzizit label and one about to be released, his versatility has seen him play in many musical genres. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London from the age of 16 and graduated with honours at the age 20.
In his early years he won many awards including the prestigious Clifford Brown/Stan Getz fellowship held in Miami, "The Best Modern Jazz Player" category in the televised "Young Jazz Player of the Year" competition and many more.
Paul is currently in the Steve Winwood band has performed worldwide with the likes of Riverdance (for over two years), Eric Clapton, Matt Bianco, Basia, Eddie Henderson, Alex Wilson, Roberto Pla, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Snowboy and the Latin Section, Tony Hadley, The Supremes, Jane Monheit.

He is a regular at Ronnie Scotts jazz club in London with his own band and others and has done several UK tours under his own name with the backing of Jazz Services and Jazz Action. Some other jazz groups he has been involved with include Arnie Somogyi's Ambulance, Sax Appeal, The New Couriers, Mike Garrick Big Band, Tim Garland's Northern Underground Orchestra etc.

Stuart McCallum (guitar)
'Stuart McCallum is simply the most talented and original guitarist that I have ever heard' (Brian Bicat JATP)
Stuart's original use of loops and effects combined with his extensive harmonic knowledge make him one of the most in demand guitarists on the scene today. He has recorded with The Cinematic Orchestra, Ari Hoenig, Tim Garland and Don Weller and has performed to critical acclaim.

Mike Gorman (piano)
Mike Gorman was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. After completing a Music Degree at University College Salford, he gained experience working on the thriving Manchester music scene.
Mike moved to London in 1995, to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Since then he has established himself as one of the UK's leading jazz pianists and organists, making regular appearances with many of the country's leading jazz musicians in London and throughout the UK. He has also worked with several prominent US musicians, as well as touring and recording with major international acts Incognito and Us3.

Phil Donkin (bass)
Phil Donkin was born in Sunderland in November 1980. He took up the electric bass at 12, playing in loud Rock bands until moving to London in 1998, having previously developed an interest in jazz. He studied at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama from '99 - '03.
Since 2002, Phil has been very busy on the London and UK scene, working with British jazz legends Stan Sulzmann, Bobby Wellins, Jim Mullen, Martin Drew, Phil Lee, Julian Arguelles, Martin France, Julian Joseph, Mark Mondesir, Steve Williamson, Tim Garland, Nikki Illes, Tina May, Phil Robson, Julian Siegel, Paul Clarvis, Hans Koller, Guy Barker and Gwilym Simcock. He has also worked with internationally known artists such as Mike Gibbs, Kirk Lightsey, and Jeff Williams. Phil has studied privately, and institutionally with Dave Liebman, Barry Harris, Rufus Ried, Billy Cobham, John Pattitucci, Dave Friesen, Geoff Keezer, Drew Gress, Ari Hoenig, Christian McBride.

Dave Smith (drums)
Since graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Dave has worked with musicians such as Peter King, Liam Noble, Stan Sultzmann and Eddie Henderson. He also works in some original creative music projects such as Arnie Somogyi's 'Ambulance', the Jonathan Bratoeff Quintet (F-ire Collective) and 'Outhouse' (LOOP Collective).
Dave's experiences with West African music began in 2002, in The Gambia, when he attended an ECCO International (Education through Communication and Culture Organisation) cultural course. Since then he has made three return trips to research the drumming tradition of 'Wolof'. As well as setting up collaborative projects, with Gambian musicians and jazz musicians, he now leads a Wolof group, which is giving workshops in schools, performing and playing for ceremonies within the Wolof community in London.

13/10/07 Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph

Paul Booth is still only 30 but he has long enjoyed a reputation as a sax player of mingled shapeliness and intensity, the tone never forced even when he's blowing up a storm – as he does more than once on this new CD.

It also shows him to be an interesting composer with a quirky rhythmic sense. The title track flits back and forth between a three- and four-beat pulse in Philip-Glass-like fashion, while A Time for Change is in a louche seven-in-a-bar.

Among the new pieces and the odd standard (Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now is lovingly reinterpreted) there are new pieces where Booth strikes a graceful, quasi-Renaissance modal tone. Add to all this an excellent supporting quartet, and the result is a delight.

01/10/2007 Martin Longley, Jazz Review

Emerging from mysterious Ramsgate, Booth may well have been experienced by many, either onstage or on disc, but they might not remember having witnessed him, so vast is the roster of horn sections he's graced. Actually, I've just realised that I saw Booth as part of Roberto Pla's orchestra at Brecon, only last month. This sinewy tenor-blower is only now beginning to refine a personal signature as leader. His second solo disc feels like it's going to enjoy a much greater presence than the 2004 debut, It's Happening, on Jazzizit. The music herein will certainly establish Booth's shining new position, as both composer and soloist. The Basho label is also increasing its momentum on the UK scene, becoming a prolific home to quality recordings, an ever-more important platform for both new and established talent. Performance and production are rippling with assurance and power. Booth is now ready to present himself as a bandleader, confidently soloing with a steelytoned tension. He also shades out section-work with his own alto flute and bass clarinet, being very aware of texture and touch. The two minute “Interlude" is a capsule example of Booth's potential for soundtrack work, a childlike fairground dismantling that also features his piano and melodica overdubs. As he's so often found in an extra-jazz musical context, some of these outside sessioneering influences must be healthy, sometimes filling Booth's compositions with an alien energy. That is, aside from his choice of Joni Mitchell's “Both Sides Now" as one of the album's three cover versions. On this scribe's subjective level, it's a particularly quease-making tune. But Paul soon redeems himself by playing Duke's “Come Sunday" as a completely solo display, leading into the Mingus freak-out of “Better Git It In Your Soul". Such a contrast, interleaving gospel's two sides: spiritual contemplation's invaded by fast handclaps, then the band levers in at speed... Guitarist Stuart McCallum is here for a purpose, and that's to spread blues and soul grit across his appearances on six of the cuts. The rest of the band are emphatically jazzy, but McCallum's solos and chordings nudge Booth's compositions sideways, just far enough to impart an enjoyably split personality.

21/09/2007 The Scotsman, Kenny Mathieson
SAXOPHONIST Paul Booth isn't exactly a newcomer, as a glance at his CV will confirm, but his second album confirms he has developed into a mature and creative leader. That CV includes work with Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton alongside more overtly jazz engagements, and it is his jazz side that is showcased on this recording with his own strong quintet. Tenor sax is his main instrument, and he plays it with a genuine lyricism, but he is also featured on soprano sax, alto flute, bass clarinet, melodica and piano in the course of the set. The ten tracks include a lovely reading of Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now, Ellington's elegant Come Sunday and an energised tribute to Mingus in Better Git it in Your Soul. The remainder are his own, and show him to be a capable writer.

21/09/2007 Evening Standard, Jack Massarik CD of the Week
Like many young pros, Paul Booth leads a double life. Derek Nash's Sax Appeal and Tim Garland's Northern Underground Orchestra know him as one of our most fluent and stylish tenormen, but musicians have mortgages too, and touring with rockers (Steve Winwood), showbands (Riverdance) and living in Margate all keep his overheads down. It also keeps him under the jazz radar, but screens should light up when this album appears on Monday. He solos with great authority on seven substantial originals and three jazz standards, including Mingus's Better Git it in Your Soul and a fine unaccompanied version of Ellington's Come Sunday. Among his quintet is Mancunian guitarist Stuart McCallum, another nascent talent worthy of closer attention.

10/09/2007 Birmingam Post, Peter Bacon, 3 stars***

Paul Booth is a very strong new voice on the tenor saxophone. Fluent and seemingly effortless in his improvisations, and rich and warm of tone, he is a pleasure to listen to.

10/09/2007 Ian Mann
Paul Booth 'No Looking Back'

You have to hand it to Christine Allen and Basho Records. They keep unearthing fresh, young British jazz musicians and encourage their talents by giving them the opportunity to record. Following the talented pianist Tim Lapthorn we now have the prodigiously gifted saxophonist Paul Booth.

Booth has worked with many big names in both the pop and jazz fields (most notably Steve Winwood) and this album is major statement of his jazz credentials. Booth is featured mainly on tenor saxophone but also on a number of other instruments. The versatile Mike Gorman (last heard as an organist in Jim Mullen’s trio) is at the piano with Phil Donkin on bass and Loop Collective member Dave Smith on drums. Mancunian guitarist Stuart McCallum, himself something of a rising star, adds his distinctive sound to six of the album’s ten tracks. It all makes for an exciting and highly talented young line up.

The lengthy title track opens the album and finds Booth overdubbing himself on alto flute and bass clarinet alongside his trusty tenor. It’s a rich mix with Booth’s assured tenor floating effortlessly over the complex rhythms. McCallum’s jagged guitar provides part of the rhythm track and he also features in a melodic context with a sparkling solo. Gorman too, announces himself with an inventive solo and proves that he is also a fine pianist.

Booth’s “Andorra” is more pastoral and lyrical with an innate tunefulness redolent of Pat Metheny. There is more fine soloing from Gorman and Booth plus a highly melodic contribution from Donkin at the bass. No matter how far the soloists probe, the relaxed and sunny vibe and essential melodiousness of the piece always shines through.
Metheny is a former associate of Joni Mitchell and Booth breathes fresh life into her composition “Both Sides Now”. Executed as a brooding ballad the leader’s pure toned tenor and Gorman’s lyrical piano are sympathetically supported by Smith and Donkin. The whole is atmospheric and effective.

The energetic post bop of“Penguin Dance” lifts the tempo. Rhythmically complex, the piece is driven along by the remarkable drumming of Smith. Solos come from the ever-inventive McCallum followed by Booth’s powerful but fluent tenor. Gorman’s piano vamping frames a series of drum breaks from the agile and energetic Smith. Exhilarating stuff.
Changes of mood and tempo are a characteristic of this well programmed album. Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” is delivered by the assured Booth as an unaccompanied tenor solo, an understated demonstration of his mastery of the instrument.

Handclaps form a segue into a joyous version of the Charles Mingus classic “Better Git It in Your Soul”. Gorman delivers a rollicking piano solo and it is appropriate that the consistently excellent Donkin is also featured.
The gently shimmering “Interlude” features Booth overdubbing on alto flute, bass clarinet, piano and even melodica. This charming vignette paves the way for the lengthy “Cross Channel”, an elegant composition framing brilliant solos from MacCallum, Booth and Gorman.

“Such Is Life” is a reflective feature for Booth on soprano introduced by Gorman on solo piano and also containing a bass solo of rare sensitivity from Donkin. Booth’s feathery tone has something of an oboe like quality about it.
The slow burning “A Time For Change” closes the album with memorable solos from Gorman and Booth. Tinged with the blues, an indefinable air of foreboding underlies the piece.

This is in fact Booth’s second album as a leader. His first, “It’s Happening” was released on Trudi Kerr’s Jazzizit label in 2004 to glowing reviews. I’ve not heard this as yet but if it reaches the same high levels as his latest offering it should be well worth investigating.

“No Looking Back” is remarkably mature statement from a highly talented saxophonist and composer. Booth makes the sophisticated sound effortless, and with sparkling support from a highly talented band this latest album should put him firmly on the jazz map. Excellent.

16/08/2007 Peter Bevan (Northern Echo)
Paul Booth/No looking back (Basho Music SRCD20-2) Just a couple of backward glances with Come Sunday which segues neatly into Better Get It In Your Soul, otherwise this is forward looking stuff written by Paul and featuring him mostly on saxes with Stuart McCallum guitar, Mike Gorman piano, Phil Donkin bass and Dave Smith drums. Paul was impressive recently with Arnie Somogyi's Ambulance in Gateshead and it's good to hear his new band is up to the same standard.

Vortex Website

The tag 'one of the hottest young players around' is probably overused in some circles, but where saxophonist Paul Booth is concerned, it's simply a factual description; his is a rich, almost fruity sound, but none the less capable of swaggering excitement, and on both his own material on this, his second album as leader, and on pieces by Duke Ellington (a solo 'Come Sunday') and Charles Mingus (the wonderfully rumbustious, helter-skelter 'Better Get It in Your Soul'), he is simply riveting, eloquent and powerful.

Guitarist Stuart McCallum is a fine foil, particularly in his utilisation of a wide range of sounds in his accompanying role, and the rhythm section ­ muscular but sensitive pianist Mike Gorman, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer Dave Smith ­ is robust enough to keep the band on its toes for the album's entire 62 minutes.

Booth's compositions are intelligently varied without undue fussiness, but his visit to Joni Mitchell's precociously philosophical 'Both Sides Now' (her equivalent of Billy Strayhorn's 'Lush Life') is possibly the album's highlight, tender, thoughtful and respectful without being over-sentimental.

A thoroughly unpretentious but musicianly album ­ recommended.