Jazzwise, Nov 2021 for Inside Out Rated ***
Rising sax star Hannah Horton has performed alongside the likes of Amy Winehouse, Tina May, John Etheridge and, at the Love Supreme Festival and elsewhere, Ian Shaw. Shaw is on hand here to sing and provide the words to two tracks on Horton’s new leader set, Inside Out, a mixture of covers and originals. ‘It’s about human emotion, trauma, exultation and more, and my response to these,’ explains Horton. ‘It is a reflection that throughout life we grow, we as humans build resilience and how time teaches us confidence, inner strength and acceptance.’ Opener ‘Keep Walking’ has, she comments, the ‘vibe of moving on, not looking back, and knowing it is the right move for your freedom, independence, soul and resilience’, and ‘Breathing Out’ – one of the Shaw numbers – represents ‘a letting go of struggles, a huge sigh of release’. There’s great release on the disc itself in the form of Horton’s bold and gritty playing, on both baritone and tenor sax.
Pianist John Crawford proves a fine foil throughout, not least on Chick Corea’s ‘Windows’. Probably the biggest surprise comes in the form of a version of ‘Feed the Birds’, from Mary Poppins, which is given a transformative groove here. Robert Shore