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The Sun, the Moon and You

by Karen Sharp, Nikki Iles, Dave Green and Steve Brown

‘This quartet has been together for a while now and it shows. Each player is given space to air their artistry with Sharp taking the lead, of course, her slightly languid sound perfectly caught, with Iles spinning out cherishable commentaries and then soloing with the kind of nimble alacrity that seems to mark all her appearances live or on record. Monk’s ‘Pannonica’ has some of the most engaging playing from Sharp that I can recall, as she explores the inner structure of the tune, Iles suggesting the composer’s angularities in her solo, Green and Brown providing the ideal pivot, before Sharp sidles in to let the theme resurface.

Each of the ten pieces on the album proceed with the kind of informed consideration that speaks of mutual assurance, as in all for one and one for all, Sharp taking Ron Carter’s ‘Little Waltz’ as a ruminative exercise, the background quite spare, as her improvisation intensifies. Nothing routine or predictable here, Sharp preferring the tonal middle-ground, near-Getzian you could say, calm yet authoritative, Green a supple second voice. Sharp is a busy presence these days, often seen in others’ ensembles but this most surely is the best way to hear her, working at her own pace in the company of trusted colleagues. She’s an ever-improving player, the ideas sustained and pleasing, Iles the ideal lieutenant. Music to treasure.’

Peter Vacher, 11th July 2018