REVIEWS

BLUE HAVEN REVIEWS

            Veteran tenor-saxophonist Peter Fraize is originally from Northern Virginia, spent time in the Netherlands in the 1980s studying and playing music, and has been based in Washington D.C. since 1989, performing a wide variety of creative music. He has since returned to Europe numerous times. In 2016 Fraize teamed up with the talented British organist Terry Seabrook (who has his own musical personality within the hard bop/soul jazz organ tradition) for a tour of the UK, forming a quartet that also included trumpeter Jack Kendon and drummer Milo Fell. That year they had strong success at the Love Supreme Festival. In the summer of 2018 the quartet, now called Atlanticus, came back together to play 20 dates and then decided that it was time for their first recording.
            Blue Haven, which consists of nine originals by Fraize and Seabrook plus fresh versions of “Moanin’,” and “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise,” was recorded in one day. While the tenor-trumpet-organ-drums instrumentation is reminiscent of Larry Young’s classic Unity album from the mid-1960s, Atlanticus sounds unlike any of its historical inspirations. The band’s release features bright new music, concise solos, and an attractive group sound.
            The energetic title cut, a modern straight-ahead piece, launches the set at an exciting and passionate level. Fraize displays an original sound on tenor along with excellent technique, Kendon’s trumpet playing is fluent and colorful, and there is a spirited organ-drums tradeoff. “Swank” has a rhythmic pattern by Seabrook in 5/4 time that will immediately remind one of Lalo Schifrin’s theme from Mission Impossible. That vamp, along with a contrasting interlude, serves as an inspiring foundation for the trumpet and tenor solos.
          
  Milo Fell’s creative drums are prominent throughout the groove tune “Let’s Walk” and the catchy but unpredictable “Ethan’s Sky.” Fell’s Afro-Cuban rhythms duet with Fraize during the first two minutes of a reinvented version of Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’” which also includes a section for Kendon’s fiery trumpet. The atmospheric but grooving “Theme For Reggie,” “GW RIF” which sounds like a futuristic boogaloo, and a cooking uptempo romp on “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise” (which includes a wild section in the middle of the performance) follow. “Blues For Alice In Wonderland” gives each musician a chance to make a statement. Blue Haven concludes with the jazz waltz “Revival” and the rousing closer “That’s What”; the latter can be thought of as a musical answer to Miles Davis’ “So What.”
            Blue Haven is a highly enjoyable release, one that finds Atlanticus invigorating the jazz tradition with surprises and consistently inventive ideas.

- Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian

JAZZ JOURNAL
Sixty-plus minutes of arresting music as blues-charged as it is harmonically literate, Blue Haven is one hell of an album from the striking Anglo-American quartet which appeared at the Love Supreme Festival in Sussex in 2018 and 2022.
Known primarily as a pianist but on organ here, the Brighton-based, widely experienced Terry Seabrook has worked with, e.g., Anita Wardell, Joe Lee Wilson and Bobby Wellins. He has a special way of mining fresh gems from familiar ground: sample Sketches Of Miles from 2010 (which opened with the hypnotic uptempo modality of That’s What, recast as the concluding piece here) or Celebrating Wayne Shorter from a decade or so later.
While Larry Young’s classic
Unity, with Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw and Elvin Jones, is a favourite of Seabrook’s, the freshly turned creative passion that marks Blue Haven is many a mile from any matter of mere affinity or pastiche. The music crackles with its own intensity and intelligence, its own charts and moods. Now up and burning (Blues For Alice), now mellow (Let’s Walk), Seabrook and his confrères gell beautifully in a vivid range of tempi, tone colour and dynamics.
The widely recorded American Peter Fraize is an open-eared, potent and often super-charged player in the Rollins and Brecker lineage, his tenor sound as subtly inflected as it is meaty. Enjoy his tonal and rhythmic authority on the bustling off-set introduction to Moanin’, where multi-dimensional drummer Milo Fell also shines. Son of bassist and jazz educator Adrian (long a legend on the south coast), Jack Kendon has elective affinities that run from Dizzy and Clark Terry to Miles and Clifford Brown: whether open or muted, his lines are as crisply cast as they are thoughtfully developed, exemplified by his solo on GW RIF.
Superb and simply unmissable music. And the extra good news is that the band has recently cut a new set of pieces for a follow-up album. Can’t wait!

- Michael Tucker, Jazz Journal

JAZZ VIEWS
Peter Fraize is a Washington DC based saxophonist, composer and educator (head of Jazz studies at George Washington University) who crossed the Atlantic in 2018 to join ubiquitous UK keys man Terry Seabrook and his a band of South Coast jazz musicians for an exhaustive 40-date tour of the UK. A day in the studio at the end of the tour captures the band simply flying through a programme of adventurous but accessible material by Fraize and Seabrook with some imaginative re-workings of a couple of standards thrown in for good measure. There’s hints of Larry Goldings’ reinvigoration of the tradition, but the touchstone must be Larry Young’s late 60s recordings, where he combined the hipness of modal and post-bop sounds with the matchless funk of the Blue Note organ trio sound. Fraize is a simply tremendous saxophonist, switching between furious Brecker-style density, lyricism and bluesy wailing with a hard-edged tone and impeccable timing: check his  intro to “Moanin”, recast as a 12/8 over Milo Fell’s precise and resonant drums, or how he absolutely tears it up over the 5/4 boogaloo of ‘Swank’. Jack Kendon on trumpet is the perfect foil, his playing full of bebop elegance and poise, especially on the Harmon muted ‘Theme For Reggie”, brassy and declamatory on the mutant funk groove of “Blues For Alice In Wonderland” and the swagger of ‘Revival’. Seabrook multitasks on Hammond and adds excitement to his solos, and Milo Fell’s drumming is as adaptable and in the pocket as this diverse range of material demands, with extra side orders of colour and some dramatic breaks. The overall impression is of a band captured at the peak of its powers, playing material that stretches everyone in the right ways, and having a ball. Catch them live when they return to tour in July.
- Eddie Myer, Jazz Views

ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Atlanticus is a hands-across-the-pond quartet led by Washington, DC-based tenor saxophonist Peter Fraize and Brighton, England-based organist Terry Seabrook The lineup is completed by fellow Brightoners, trumpeter Jack Kendon and drummer Milo Fell. Each of the four musicians has two or more decades of experience behind them.
Atlanticus first toured together in 2016 and
Blue Haven, the group's debut, was recorded live in the studio following a lengthy British tour in 2018.
After two years of enforced lay-offs, the band takes to the road again with a month-long small-venue British tour in July 2022.
Blue Haven is being released to coincide. As the instrumentation may already have suggested, Atlanticus has its roots in hard bop and jazz funk. It does not seek radically to push the envelope but neither is it lacking in originality. The two standards on the album—Bobby Timmons’ "Moanin'" and Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II's "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise"—are both given satisfying twists, and the spirited two-minute Afro-Cuban intro to "Moanin'" is particularly noteworthy.
Most of the material, however, consists of originals, six by Fraize, two by Seabrook. Again, these do not radically push the envelope, but neither are they routinely generic. The main event, however, is the soloing. Fraize and Seabrook are gutsy, extrovert players who come across with absolute conviction and it is their well-matched steaming styles which have above all made Atlanticus a popular live attraction. Kendon is a chip off the same block and Fell a deep-pocket drummer
.
- Chris May, All About Jazz

JAZZWISE
US tenorist Peter Fraize's robust soloing style is a main attraction on B3 organist Terry Seabrook's retro straightahead Brighton-based quartet's debut that covers all bases from Hammong R&B, hard bop to post-1960's modal on some neat originals and a well-judged Afro Cuban twist on Moanin.'
- CD Shortcuts, Jazzwise Magazine