Pagoda Project are accordion player Paul Hutchinson (of Belshazzar’s Feast) and clarinettist Karen Wimhurst. As a duo they have fused several musical styles. Here you will hear jazz meeting Eastern Europe, Paris café society, Klezmer and folk, all delivered with panache.
The excellent playing is combined with humour, both in the delivery and the titles of the tunes. Paul Hutchinson tends to name his tunes after personal experiences, although in the case of Kitchen Lamentation, you’d rather not know!
The short but exquisite opening track, merely called Introduction, introduces the solo clarinet. This alone lets you know your ears are in for a real treat. The accordion then takes up the baton joyously with Irwins, a tune named in honour of a reviewer. The clarinet adds some interesting off-beat musical embroidery to the regular rhythms of the tune and demonstrates the huge range of the instrument.
Life in the Bus Lane begins gently and mysteriously on the accordion with the clarinet taking up the tune. From this gentle beginning the piece develops into a beautiful tune celebrating a rather unfortunate event.
The sense of fusion is demonstrated particularly well in the track Bouzurka Waltz, which is a tune with an identity crisis. It is meant to be a combination of a waltz, bourée and a mazurka. Apparently, however, it is a 3/2 hornpipe and has a lovely mellow tune for the clarinet.
Another Turkey starts rather mournfully with the clarinet taking the lead. The mood picks up as the tune develops into a fast and furious klezmer style number.
Paul was briefly a church organist, and this is celebrated in Hymn, one of the longer tracks on the album, which marks this with an organ introduction. Another gorgeous, lyrical clarinet solo features here too.
Wish List, another exquisite piece by Karen closes the album. It continues the free form style of the opening track, but is given more time to develop and this time is joined by the
Clarion is a perfect merging of styles and sounds and is a delight to listen to.Shelley Rainey
Released Autumn 2015 on Sylvafield Records.
3. Life in the Bus Lane
4. It Takes Three to Tango
7. The Lichfield Gamble
8. Another Turkey
9. Kitchen Lamentation
11. Shelley’s Waltz
12. Wish List