Sandy Brown Jazz

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Jazz As Art

Nick Costley-White Quartet

Thinky Pain

from the album Detour Ahead


When you listen to music, you sometimes conjure images in your mind. Our Jazz As Art series invites you to listen to a piece of jazz and as it plays, scroll down the page and see which of the pieces of art I have chosen comes closest to the pictures in your mind. Hopefully, this will introduce you to recordings and art works you might not have spent time with before.

Nick Costley-White


Nick Costley-White is a popular guitarist on the London jazz scene. He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2011 with the highest mark in his year and was awarded the Yamaha Scholarship for Outstanding Jazz Musicians. He has performed with some of the country's most renowned jazz musicians such as Martin Speake, Stan Sulzmann, Steve Fishwick, Jeff Williams and composer John Warren, touring in the UK, Europe, Australia and South America. He leads his own quartet and has been part of other successful musical projects as a contributing musician. His music is varied from playing classic jazz with the Dixie Ticklers to contemporary jazz with Snowpoet. He is featured on nine studio albums, including A New Start by UK sax veteran Pete Hurt, (2nd place in the 2016 Jazz awards New Release category) and Fini Bearman’s Burn the Boat (2nd in Jazzwise “Best Albums of 2016”).

Now, in July 2018, Nick releases his debut album, Detour Ahead, in the company of his usual Quartet members - Matt Robinson (piano); Conor Chaplin (double bass) and Dave Hamblett (drums) - all of them busy musicians with other bands too. Detour Ahead opens by catching ubiquitous attention with a well known Standard - Cole Porter's Just One Of Those Things and the style of the Quartet is soon appreciated. Six of the eight tracks are Nick's compositions, including the engaging Swing State that starts with bebop riff and swings into the title track, Herb Ellis's Detour Ahead. The order of the recordings is well considered resulting in a varied programme, and the gentle Detour Ahead leads perfectly into the longest track on the album, Thinky Pain, which we consider here. For this track, Sam Rapley joins the Quartet on bass clarinet. The tune is a tribute to the American comedian and guitarist Marc Maron who in October 2013, released his first hour long special via Netflix titled, Marc Maron: Thinky Pain.

From the outset, we can appreciate that Nick Costley-White is an accomplished musician whose sensitive, melodic guitar playing paints pictures.

'The solo intro explores an open palette of clustered chords,' explains Nick. 'The rhythm section (augmented now with bass clarinet played by Sam Rapley) joins the guitar with a steady travelling pulse whilst the polytonal theme is slowly unwrapped and explored through further improvisations. The final section strips us back down to just the double bass and gradually all the instruments, harmonies and rhythms are stacked on to one another, building a rich and beautifully dissonant sound world. As if from nowhere, the final chord is struck, peacefully resolving all tensions'.

Detour Ahead is released on the Ubuntu label on 13th July 2018.


Play the track and then scroll down to see the paintings I have chosen to go with the music and see which work for you.  

(I think this only really works if you spend time with each painting)






T.R. Way


T R Way painting






Norman Adams


Norman Adams painting







James McNeill Whistler



Whistler Man With Pipe






Paul Klee



Paul Klee painting





Asger Jorn



Asger Jorn painting






Thomas Benjamin Kennington



Thomas Benjamin Kennington painting







Leonid Afremov



leonid Afremov Night Feeling








TuroRudolph Sad Clown







Pablo Picasso



Pablo Picasso Three Musicians






John Chamberlain




John Chamberlain Kora







John Wolseley




John Wolseley painting





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More Jazz As Art
Video Juke Box
Tracks Unwrapped
Name That Tune

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