When I first heard news that the freshest sounding jazz ensemble to emerge from Manchester were called 'GOGO PENGUIN' I, as many would, smiled wryly and conceded that whilst the band would undoubtedly consist of some decent characters, the seemingly tongue in cheek nature of their name meant that this wasn't something to be taken in complete seriousness. Never the less as their debut record 'Fanfares' clunked through my letter box last month, I was engulfed by a wave of intrigue. What sat on my doormat peering up at me was a wonderfully designed record, simple in aesthetic but very professional looking, a press release stating that the album was to be released on Matthew Halsall's 'Gondwana Records, and a distribution notice from a sizeable Jazz PR company... this didn't seem like a joke project at all.
By the time the first seconds of the record exploded through my speakers and filled my room with what was to become a characteristically light-footed melody, tip-toeing elegantly over a lurching bass sequence, my mind was completely made up. What's more, as much as I was enjoying this great music, the juxtaposition of a name like 'GOGO PENGUIN' and the intense, mood evoking compositions that filled that room made the experience that much sweeter. The album is a triumph from start to finish, whether it be Pianist 'Chris Illingworth' thunderous opening tribute to the late 'Esbjorn Svennson' or the dreamy 'Last words', it remains constantly melodic, forever atmospheric and always engaging throughout.
Now the name 'GOGO PENGUIN' seems like the coolest thing on the circuit to me.
'Fanfares' the debut album OUT TODAY (Monday 18th November)