Artist: The Bicycle Thieves
Album: Stolen moment (2002)
The Bicycle Thieves: Alistair Robinson (guitar); Martin Bloomfield (bass); Roger Hempsall (drums).
This new release from Road Goes On Forever Records represents a first in more ways than one: not only are The Bicycle Thieves our first local signing since our move to the North East, but The Bicycle Thieves are also the label's first jazz act.
An acoustic trio led by guitarist Alistair Robinson, aided and abetted by Martin Bloomfield on bass and percussionist extraordinaire Roger Hempsall, The Bicycle Thieves have established a solid reputation on the local upmarket gig circuit, performing at such prestigious local venues as Throwing Stones restaurant at The National Glass Centre in Sunderland and the local gourmet paradise known as 11, Tavistock Place.
Formed in 1997 by Robinson (by day a local newspaper journalist) and Bloomfield, who initially performed as a duo, earlier this year they recruited seasoned session musician Hempsall, whose past credits include Jeff Beck, Pete King and Shirley Bassey (among many others), since when they have expanded both their repertoire and their horizons, which the release of this debut album confirms. Alistair Robinson is also a gifted composer, and has either written or co-written (with Martin Bloomfield) nine of the 14 tracks here. The balance of the tracks are cover versions of notable tunes written by the likes of Cole Porter, Michel Legrand, Pat Metheny and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
The group name, The Bicycle Thieves, was borrowed from the celebrated Italian film of the 1950s, and has no other significance - this trio do not steal bicycles - but Martin Bloomfield, as well as dispensing excellent bass lines, is actually also adept at riding a unicycle, and has been known to combine both his skills, playing bass while wobbling back and forth. Roger Hempsall, who is also a music lecturer and actor, has played on scores of albums during his distinguished career, and brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to the band.
Road Goes On Forever Records founder John Tobler notes "What interested us about The Bicycle Thieves was the fact that they play tastefully, use a lot of original material, and above all are different - their influences include flamenco music, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery and Pat Metheny, and the label has never released anything like this before. We don't expect world domination before Christmas, but we are hopeful that this tuneful and melodic music will open ears and eyes which have previously ignored jazz".