Words by Tim Cumming
Quip-loving Feastie Boy meets contemporary classicist
Paul Hutchinson, half of the fabulous Belshazzar’s Feast, teams up here with clarinettist Karen Wimhurst from the world of contemporary classical music. Hutchinson writes all but two of the 12 tracks – Wimhurst’s name is on the mellifluous ‘Introduction’ and the closing ‘Wish List’ – on Pagoda, a folk-jazz-classical fusion project. Hutchinson’s accordion and Wimhurst’s bass clarinet improvise from folk melodies as well as adding touches of Balkan-style klezmer on ‘Shipton’, which Hutchinson amusingly notes takes its name from ‘a town in the Cotswolds, which is largely responsible for keeping Farrow & Ball solvent.’
Hutchinson is renowned for his decidedly laconic sense of humour – always on display at any of his shows with Paul Sartin. While there’s plenty of that in his song titles and brief song descriptions, the music itself is beautiful and measured, a real pleasure to settle in and get familiar with. This CD arrived shortly after the horrific attacks in Beirut and Paris, and it proved to be music of calm and balm, bringing a measure of sympathy and healing to a strange and deadly world.