Ashley Henry – Ashley Henry’s 5ive

Album Review | Jazz Re:freshed | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

With a forceful piano style that blends the heady intensity of Robert Glasper with the ruminative explorations of Jason Moran, Ashley Henry presents a collection of five compositions that formerly herald the arrival of Britain’s latest young jazz sensation.  A recent graduate of the Leeds College of Music and Royal Academy of Music, 24 year old Henry has already begun carving an impressive niche.  Indeed, the release of this constantly inventive and seductive five-track record coincides with Henry’s nomination for Breakthrough Act of the Year at the Jazz FM Awards 2017 which will be held on April 25th.  Beginning with the invigorating “Deja Vu”, which showcases Henry’s energetic yet meditative playing, Ashley Henry’s 5ive boasts four original compositions including the scintillating “St Anne’s” and studiously groovy “Altruism” which, along with the angular contemplations of “Deimos”, demonstrate a deep affinity for hip hop without abandoning the realm of sublime acoustic jazz.  The decision to include a stunning rendering of “Monk’s Dream” not only demonstrates Henry’s good taste but also his ambition.  Indeed, Henry’s solo opening of this well-known Thelonious Monk composition furnishes the album with its most arresting moment.  Henry is joined by the tight rhythms of bassist Sam Vicary and drummer Sam Gardner and benefits from the punctilious production of Paul and Mat Clark.