Cape Town-born pianist/composer Clouts’ South African roots have inspired a voyage of discovery that has led to him soaking up the joyful passion of Caribbean calypso, the bluesy melodies of middle eastern praise songs, the exuberant sway of Cuban dance music and the tuneful essence of Gospel while honouring jazz heroes including Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Charles Lloyd.
As a key member of the popular London-based world jazz ensemble Zubop and its offshoot ZubopGambia, with BBC World Music award-winner Juldeh Camara, Clouts created a solid body of work with African roots and since moving to Dorset UK in 2006 he has responded to his new surroundings with impressionistic compositions that complement his world music interests, resonating with strong themes and packing a mighty rhythmical punch.
The latest CD from the Philip Clouts Quartet is one of the first wave of releases on the new jazz imprint from prestigious label Odradek Records. On this album, entitled Umoya (named from the Zulu word for life force), Clouts’ African inspirations extend beyond Cape jazz to Gnawa music and Afrobeat, and further to pan-European folksong, soul-jazz and even drum ‘n’ bass. Joined by rising star saxophonist Samuel Eagles, bassist Tim Fairhall and drummer Kiran Bhatt, he brings his musical journey alive with superb musicianship and infectious vigour.
“Clouts' compositions are strong and likeable. The quartet's playing is similarly engaging, a feeling of optimism pervading the tunes with a life force of its own” All About Jazz