“Remember, remember, the fifth of November,” goes ye olde English folk verse, the one about high treason and hanging the Pope. Saxophonist and sound manipulator Samuel Sharp certainly remembers a particular recent Guy Fawkes Night, when he’d been hired to play a high-rise restaurant with a 360° view of the evening’s fireworks throughout London. “Fireworks From The Tower” is an enthusiastic reminiscence, a story told with musical phrases in cascading layers, rather than words, but no less engaging. Scintillating would a suitable qualifier.
Sharp is reinventing himself after a decade or so as a London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer for hire, with an extensive resume of stage and studio session work, and downtempo club tracks on Tru-Thoughts and Tessier-Ashpool. Those were under the pseudonym Lossy; flying solo with just his sax and his laptop now, he’s reclaimed his given name, and invested himself in formulating a distinctive personal voice. He comes forward with the candor and eloquence of a jazz player, the architectural inclinations of the minimalist composer, a club DJ’s intuition for a good groove, and a storyteller’s crowd-pleasing élan.
The second track, “Longdown Hill”, recalls not a moment but a place, a stretch of rural road to the west of London. It’s one that a much younger Sharp drove regularly for a year, through all four seasons, and he offers a sympathetic salute, sketched out in strokes of harmonious delay. At the time of this writing, the piece feels resolutely autumnal; repeat road tests in the months to come may reveal otherwise. In any case, the two tracks with which Samuel Sharp announces himself are just a teaser for a full album expected next spring. The anticipation will make winter’s miseries more tolerable.