On 28 April 2022, Bedlam & Squalor public was blessed by a visit from guitarist Chris Williamson with a special hand-crafted programme. Chris was accompanied by Blair Latham on tenor sax, Rick Cranson on
drums, Leo Coghini on piano, and Alastair Isdale on bass.
Chris lives in Tauranga and visits his “spiritual home town” less frequently than he’d like. This time he brought along a brand new set of compositions tailored especially for his fellow musicians.
As Chris explained later: “I tried to include into each piece some elements that I knew they would really enjoy playing”. And indeed each of the players had multiple opportunities to shine.
New in Town let Rick stretch his wings with complex rhythmic patternsand rubatos as well as original sounds such as scratching the ride cymbal to make a squeaky noise. Slick Rick, a steady pacing piece,
had a nice guitar/sax dialogue and piano that simply insisted on kibbitzing.
Beautiful guitar solos supported a lyrical intensity provided by the drums. The bass thumped consistently and supportively throughout the gig. And Leo’s piano technique was top notch—as though we might expect anything less from him!
Blair was expressive and jazzy as usual in every piece, but in Mayday he showed all his colours. His remarkable dynamic range—switching from piano to forte and back—together with the full diapason of the sax—rendered his solos a real joy to ear, brain and heart.
You could clearly hear Chris’s love for the music and his deep respect for his fellow musicians in his compositions. “Writing for them and eventually playing together gives me an opportunity to be in the first row at the performance with these great artists. And I enjoy it very much”, he said.
A little bird told me that this programme was recorded in Wellington justrecently. We can expect the album to be available in the near future. Follow the Fire Waltz Facebook page for updates. Meanwhile give a listen to their previous album, Fire Waltz, on Thelonious Records.

By Charlie Queen