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Chris Hodgkins – Trumpet
Alison Rayner – Double bass
Max Brittain – Guitar

Bell CD 511

Present Continuous
Present Continuous

1. Queer Bird (Alison Rayner) 2:33
2. Bijou Drinkette (Henry Lowther) 3:29
3. Let’s Get Lost (Jimmy McHugh) 2:53
4. Goodbye Kerry Goodbye (Eddie Harvey) 3:36
5. Vejer de la Frontera (Alison Rayner) 3:21
6. The Way You Look Tonight (Jerome Kern) 2:56
7. Stalking (Thad Jones) 2:50
8. Tommy’s Song (Diane McLoughlin) 4:03
9. Look For The Silver Lining (Jerome Kern) 2:44
10. For Jim (Max Brittain) 2:47
11. Mainstem (Duke Ellington) 2:43
12. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen) 3:40
13. Serenade To A Bus Seat (Clark Terry) 2:33
14. Busted Back Blues (Damon Brown) 4:15
15. Delightful Pace (Harry Beckett) 3:14
16. Blue Mist (Humphrey Lyttelton) 3:08
17. Sweet Cakes (Harry Edison) 2:49
18. You’re A Lucky Guy (Saul Chaplin) 2:48

Listen to “Queer Bird”:

Produced Malcolm Creese
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Bob Whitney
Recorded at Dronken Lane Studios, Hertfordshire, England ON 22nd and 23rd January 2005
Design by Suzy Waller
Photography by Peter Symes
Total time 56:35
Bell CD 511


This album is an unqualified triumph. A stylistic span of compositions from connoisseur standards to contemporary delights; neat, sweet originals and arrangements by all three participants; regular use of all the tonal opportunities including mutes; cosmetic details such as the use of four and eight-bar conversations between players alongside extended outings – all these clever devices and more keep the listener, well, listening. Chris’ trumpet playing is an intriguing but entirely convincing meld of stylistic influences in which you can regularly spot echoes of Miles, Sweets, Clark, Chet, Cootie, Roy Eldridge, Louis, Ruby and our very own Humphrey Lyttelton. Amid this stylistic quilt however, Chris is basically a fine trumpet-player. The result is an album worth detailed attention. A job exceedingly well done! I loved it!  Digby Fairweather on Present Continuous.

This fine album reminds us he is an accomplished trumpet player….The emphasis through out is on strong melodic content …… the master guitarist ,who deserves to be better known is the ideal foil for  Chris because their sounds blend so well. The same applies to Alison’s bass work ….His skilful use of mutes and the neat arrangements ensure plenty of variety. Bob Weir,  Jazz Journal, August 2005.

Chris’s playing, frequently tight muted is clearly influenced by Harry Edison – and none the worse for that  -and Rayner and Brittain provide sympathetic and unfailing musical support  The Jazz Rag, Autumn 2005.

This one will do nicely. Peter Vacher, Jazzwise, August 2005.

The mix of 18 originals and standards …….flaunt the trios undoubted skill at presenting and taking a tune to heaven and back…Top notch. Musician, Autumn 2005.

Astonishing set from trumpet-guitar-based group.  Dave Gelly, The Observer, 4th September 2005.

As Director of Jazz Services, Chris Hodgkins often seems to me to caught between the irresistible force of highly talented but combative musicians, on the one hand, and the immovable object of the cultural establishment on the other. How he maintains his genial disposition is a mystery. But he does, and as a trumpeter his music is a reflection of a cheerful personality. Here he demonstrates that he can not only preach about the virtues of jazz but practise them too – accompanied by guitarist Max Brittain and bassist Alison Rayner, he comes across as a skilful  player with a fondness for strong melodies and concise solos. Many of the tracks could have come from old 78’s – intentionally, since the idea has been to extend the momentum of recordings which were subject to a three or four minute time limit. And fittingly nine pieces are by UK musicians, including Henry Lowther, Damon Brown, Harry Beckett and Humphrey Lyttelton. Pete Martin, Jazz UK, Jan/Feb 2006, Issue 67.

There are nice albums, and then there are nice albums. This is a nice album……..In bassist Alison Rainer and guitarist Max Britain, Hodgkins has found ideal sparring partners who share and fully understand his philosophy of how this music should be played. Both contribute original compositions, and solo impeccably and creatively and therefore playing major roles in the success in turning this album into a little gem. Nick Lea, Jazz Views, November 2006, Issue 041.

As a long defunct trumpet blower myself, I am fully aware that it is not an easy instrument to hide with!! So when someone does a whole CD with trumpet, bass and guitar, you are putting yourself at high risk. I was delighted to hear Chris Hodgkins was very well practiced, and has produced a beautiful, light, set of music on a CD called “Present Continuous”. For the last 20 years Chris has been the director of Jazz Services Ltd, but he has obviously kept up the practice. The guitarist is Max Brittain (often to be seen locally) and together with lady bass player Alison Rayner, they make an excellent job of some light, slightly “late night”, music. Tunes include “Let’s get Lost”, “Mainstem”, “Stalking”, “Look for a Silver Lining” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, a really wide program choice that really comes off. Geoff Cronin, Jazz from Geoff,, 3rd October 2006

Hodgkins has sequenced the music superbly……Hodgkins makes extensive use of the mute and covers the full tonal range of the trumpet. He states the melodies boldly and keeps his solos brief and pithy. Max Brittain’s rhythm playing is both dynamic and supportive and his soloing concise, tasteful and melodic. Alison Rayner unobtrusively holds it all together with consummate skill…..This then is a delightful collection of exquisite miniatures, beautifully played, arranged and produced. Ian Mann,, 25th April 2006