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SEBASTIAN ROCHFORD & KIT DOWNES ‘A Short Diary’



Feb 1, 2023 | Jazz, Reviews

A love letter of distilled grief and devotion

There’s something about our winter listening experiences which draw us either to a maelstrom of black metal or stillness and serenity. A Short Diary, released by the ECM imprint, fulfils all our wishes in the latter category and sits alongside some of our other key ECM hibernal listening such as John Surman’s Witholding Pattern.

The passing of time can be both cruel and healing, and the backstory for this album contains the essence of these complexities as Rochford’s compositions are dedicated to his father, the late Aberdeen poet Gerard Rochford (1932 – 2019) and his family.

Teaming up with pianist Kit Downes, a familiar foil, Rochford takes to his drum kit to offer a delicate supporting role to the highly charged emotional richness of these numbers, penned shortly after his father’s death. The only exception is Even Now I Think Of Her, written by Rochford’s father, and closing the album on a heartrending, sparse coda.

Classical and religious overtones are evident throughout with echoes of Satie and chilly sacred spaces all coming to mind. It’s measured, even austere, and yet, imbued with an intimacy as if we are witness to a family vigil. A love letter of distilled grief and devotion.

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