My short review of this CD published online in One Hundred Words Magazine [no longer available]:-
Colin Towns – composer, arranger, pianist – is back with a new band called Blue Touch Paper. Their album, Stand Well Back, explodes into life with thrilling music which is not afraid of taking exciting, unexpected directions.
More familiar to jazz connoisseurs for his large scale bands, Towns’ Blue Touch Paper is a six piece group bringing together some formidably talented musicians from across Europe. Together they are an unstoppable creative force, brilliantly interpreting Town’s terrifically catchy, diverse and adventurous compositions. Mark Lockheart’s virtuoso contribution on saxes is one of the many highlights.
This is music that will both inspire and astonish.
There is an excellent short documentary on the creation of this album:-
There’s a nice review by Chris Parker in LondonJazz:-
Composer/pianist Colin Towns spent two years assembling the sextet that appears on this album, and the extraordinarily rich and wide-ranging nature of the music they play fully vindicates his patience and care.
…Blue Touch Paper are as at home with the relatively straightforward deep-groove fusion of Miles Davis in his Tutu period as with the late trumpeter’s seething-cauldron sounds captured on the likes of Bitches Brew and Agartha; rousing Zappa-esque complexity spearheaded by deliciously multi-textured guitar work; deceptively gentle, almost Andy Sheppard-like wafts; climactic, no-holds-barred jazz/rock: as anyone who’s followed Towns’s gloriously multifarious output since 1992’s Mask Orchestra will attest, he is an astonishingly fertile and open-minded composer, adept at incorporating his many musical predelictions into pieces that intrigue, absorb and – most important – uplift the listener.