Chris Cody
5 stars
Reviewed by Barry O’Sullivan

Taking inspiration from the personal effect on an individual engulfed in a plague, and a novel text which explores the alienation of one who refuses to conform to social norms to create music, could result in some morbidly depressing listening. However, Chris Cody, a well-travelled, gifted, and experienced jazz musician, has managed to avoid this dilemma by delivering the opposite. Living in Paris for several years, his proximity to many unique locations enabled him to tour much of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, where Albert Camus set his novel, L’Étranger (The Outsider). Musically traversing the streets of modern Paris to the plains of Tanzania, Cody has delved into what could be his best work to date. His music styles range from blues to free jazz and uplifting gospel with the added elements of Middle Eastern and North African motifs incorporating the grooves that the composer personally experienced. This results in a suite of compositions that flow seamlessly, the recording builds from the busy, frenetically textured movements on Procession, cooling down into a wondrous bath of mesmerising ensemble work and oud playing on Anticipation. The title track is a favourite – a moody film noir ballad. Along with the remaining six compositions, this release features an impressive display of 21st century jazz playing in full flow, showcasing Cody’s brilliant pianism. It is indeed a standout recording.