Mumpbeak - Tooth album review

Anglo-Norwegian prog jazz from Mumpbeak with lots of bite

Mumpbeak - Tooth album artwork

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Having studied avantgarde composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, Roy Powell went from accomplished jazz pianist in the 1990s with a string of acclaimed releases to Nordic relocation, embracing a proggier direction via power trio Interstatic and the Euro-US quartet Naked Truth.

Mumpbeak’s second release, like its 2013 debut, sees Powell once again channelling his considerable energy through a guitarpedal enhanced Hohner E7 Clavinet from which springs expressive sounds ranging from diaphanous, fairy-dust twinkles through to ballsy distortion, pitch-bends and dayglo wah-wah that would make Hendrix envious. Powell’s lithe tunes employ melodic hairpin bends that evoke early electric Chick Corea and, surprisingly perhaps, a light touch of cerebral complexity not unlike Gilgamesh’s Alan Gowen. A flamboyant soloist, he makes impressive leaps across the octaves in wild, powerfully contrasting pieces, driven by Elephant 9 drummer Torstein Lofthus’ dazzling cymbals and the low growl of Lorenzo Feliciati’s inquisitive bass which threads this mix of prog and jazz rock together. With a scorching Hammond organ raising the emotional temperature, Mumpbeak’s intensity proves unstoppable.

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.