[This review was first published in Jazz Journal in 2010.]Disassembler - What Is - cover

Annie Whitehead (tb)
Trevor Warren (g)
Dudley Phillips (b)
Mark Lockheart (ts, ss)
Winston Clifford (d)

sweet torture
pop 2
there’s no sound in space
great leap forward

London, 13-14 July, 2009

Compositionally, this is Trevor Warren’s project but Disassembler is an egalitarian set up. Everyone has their moments in the spotlight and everyone supports unselfishly. This album was commissioned by the Asociación Granada Jazz, having awarded them the Best International Band prize in 2009.

There’s a subtlety and an edge to each piece. Whether it’s the seductive insistence of the horns on reggaeton, the jazz-rock guitar of abe or the driving drums and distortion of pop 2 each track stands out and yet is also part of a beautiful whole.

Intriguingly, the liner notes claim the album was mixed by “lady margaret thatcher”!


It’s been a while since I listened to this and it shouldn’t have been. Space restrictions in JJ meant the original review was pretty short. On listening again, a few years down the line, a few things stand out. Notably, Warren’s guitar playing, positively Grateful Dead-ish on abe, funky riffing on reggaeton (which also gives plenty of deserved space to Whitehead’s trombone), the relatively straight arpeggiated intro to sweet torture, the intricate noodling on great leap forward – there are plenty of flavours on offer here.

Overall, it’s an odd-but-good mix of modern composition-driven Brit-jazz plus an Iberian touch which comes through in some of the rhythmic patterns – a hint of duende around the edges.

Google tells me that there are a couple of previous discs – Disassembler (2005) and Fear is the Mother of Violence (2008) – but I can’t find any sign of a fourth. Shame.