Terry Pack's Trees - Heart Of Oak - 2017



“... an unfeasibly large ensemble ...”


And now something completely different ... is progVisions going mad, reviewing an album of an unfeasibly large ensemble comprised of up to fifty musicians, including rhythm section, reeds, brass and voices that is playing a kind of big band jazz? I hear you thinking ... there must be a connection to the progressive rock world. Yes, you are right. The ensemble is called Trees and is founded by and is playing music of Terry Pack. Terry plays the bass guitar and double bass and turned professional at the age of 16 (1974). In October 1976 he joined the band The Enid. Between 1976 and May 1979 he toured with the band and recorded two studio albums: “Aerie Faerie Nonsense” (1977) and “Touch Me” (1978). Yes, I have your full attention now! A concert in 1979 at Hammersmith was recorded and issued in 1979 in two volumes of “The Enid Live at Hammersmith Odeon”. After leaving the band he became a session player and worked with musicians like Jan Akkerman (Focus), Steve Hackett and Steve Howe. After six years living abroad in Italy, he returned in the year 1999 to England to find a very healthy jazz scene in Sussex. Later on he formed the trio Full Circle and was a founding member of The Cloggz. After recording some albums under the name Terry Pack Group he founded in April 2015, in his own words, an unfeasibly large ensemble called Trees to play new music written by Terry himself and other members of the band. In May this year (2017) Symbol Records released their debut album “Heart Of Oak”.


Alice Hawkes: piano (all)
David Beebee: piano (1,2,3,4,5,8,9,10)
Eddie Myer: double bass (1,6,9,10,11)
Enrico Pinna: ac and elec guitars (1,3,10)
Imogen Ryall: shakers (1-11)
James Osler: elec guitar (1,6,9,11)
Lucy Pickering: kalimba (2,7)
Mark Edwards: keys (1,3,6,8,9,11)
Matt Hobson: ac, orch and elec perc (all)
Matt Wilson: ac and elec guitars (1,2,3,4,5,7,8) Milo Fell: drums and perc (all)
Neil Corin: accordion, tuned perc and keys (all) Nick Magnus: keys (1,3,4,8)
Phil Hudson: ac and elec guitars (8)
Terry Pack: double and elec basses, voice (all)
Tom Phelan: keys (3,8)
Tristan Banks: drums and perc (1,6,9,11)

Trumpets and Flugelhorns;
Bob Turner (1,2,3,4,5,7,8)
Chris Willard (2,4,5)
Gabriel Garrick (1,6,9,11)
Jack Kendon (1,6,9,11)
Jane Stimpson (all)
Martijn Van Galen (1,3,8)
Martin Bradley (1,2,3,4,5,7,8)
Moshe Ibelo (1,2,3,4,5,7,8)
Steve Lawless (all)

Charlotte White (3,4,8)
Mimi Nicholson (1,3,7,8)
Paul Nieman (all)
Peter Thompson (all)
Tarik Mecci (1,2,4,5,6,9,11)
Tim Wade (3,4,8)

Abi Cox: alto sax (2,4,5)
Andy Pickett: tenor sax, bari sax and bass clar (all) Antony Durrant: flute (1)
Beccy Perez-Rork: sop sax (all)
Chantelle Rizan: alto sax (1,6,9,11)
Charlotte Glasson: sop and tenor saxs (all)
Claire Western: alto sax (1,2,3,4,5,7,8)
Greg Maddocks: alto flute (all)
Hilary Burt: flute (all)
Jo Luckman: alto sax (1,2,3,4,5,7,8)
John Styles: bass clar, bassoon and bari sax (1,2,3,4,5,7,8)
Julian Nicholas; alto clar and tenor sax (1,6,11)
Kate Hogg: alto sax,flute and bansuri (all) Linda Atkinson: alto sax and Bb clar (all) Lucy Pickering: flute (all)
Merlin Shepherd: G clar (1,6,9,11)
Mike Guest: flute (all)
Paul Stuart Briggs: tenor sax (all)
Phil Paton: bari sax and bass clar (1,2,3,4,5,7,8)
Philippe Guyard: tenor sax (1,2,4,5,6,10,11)
Tony Freer: oboe and Cor Anglais (2,3,4,5,10)

Annie Lightly (all)
Antony Durrant (all)
Elaine Crouch (1,3,7,8,10,11)
Heather Camille (all) Imogen Ryall (all)
Lucy Pickering (2,3,5,8,10)
Rachel Munro (1,2,4,5,6,7,9)
Red Gray (1,5,7)
Vikki Parker (1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9)

Recorded live at Hawthbush Farm in East Sussex
December 2015 & November 2016 and at
studio (sessions between January 2016 and March 2017)
Mixed and mastered by Neil Costello


After reading a reply of Francis Lickerish to a Facebook post of Terry Pack, alarm bells were ringing here at progVisions. I already followed the musical career of Francis Lickerish a former guitarist and composer of The Enid who made some wonderful albums that I would like to recommend to the fans of The Enid. Just check out the albums “Far and Forgot - From The Lost Lands” and “To Wake The King” at the BandCamp page of Francis. But what had become of The Enid’s bass player Terry Pack. After contacting Terry he generously provided me a promo copy of the album “Heart Of Oak”.

The album comes with a bonus DVD including a video from the recording of “Heart Of Oak”. This is a wonderful bonus and well worth playing for a better understanding of the music. Great to see that all the musicians and singers are having a great time making music together. Sometimes Terry is playing bass guitar or double bass in front of the whole gang while conducting this large ensemble. The joy of making music together.

The album opens with the long (13:21) track “The Long Man / The Holy Well”. For me one of the highlights of this album. The first part has a delicate vocal part with wonderful melodies. This is followed by a jazzy trumpet and nice synth and guitar solo’s. There is so much going on ... so many instruments. Slowly the tension is building up towards one of the big band climaxes. The third track “The Ridge” is another highlight for me. “The Ridge” is the ancient road above and to the North Of Hastings between Ore Village and Battle. It is believed to be the track that William The Conqueror and his Norman invaders marched along to Senlac (Lake of Blood), the supposed site of The Battle of Hastings in 1066. It is an intriguing piece of music. The synths and the multi voiced melodies without words are reminding me sometimes of the Canterbury scene with bands like Hatfield and the North. Just listen to “The Story So Far” and you know what I mean. And if you check the long list of musicians who are contributing to this album, you will discover another connection to the world of progressive rock music and also to the band The Enid. Former keyboardist of the Steve Hackett Band Nick Magnus also started his career with the band The Enid. Is it an coincidence that he is playing on my favorite tracks? The great thing of Terry Pack’s music is that every musician gets his moment to shine. “Friston To Cuckmere” has lovely trombone melodies and a spoken word section. The poetry is by Rudyard Kipling. In the title track “Heart Of Oak” you will find a beautiful and delicate piano part. It is a wonderful track with lovely melodies. Halfway the track the music gets more uptempo and after a freaky trumpet part there is also a real drum solo. A piece of music with great diversity. The album closes with the track “Haven: The River’s End”. A short piece with the atmosphere of India. Cuckmere Haven is a place of great beauty. It is where the River Cuckmere joins the sea. Originally, this piece was improvised as an introduction to “The Holy Well”, but has found another home. A worthy closing of a remarkable album.


Maybe this album is more interesting for lovers of Jazz music but like myself Progressive Rock lovers are often open minded music lovers who can enjoy several music genres. The development of an all round musician like Terry Pack is very interesting to me. And I am impressed by his qualities as composer for a large ensemble. This said I must also mention the name of Hilary Burt. Both are responsible for most of the music and arrangements you can find on “Heart Of Oak”. Don’t expect music like The Enid on this album ... you better check out the earlier mentioned albums of Francis Lickerish ... but I would recommend this album to the open minded music lover. I would recommend to buy a physical copy of the album because you then receive also a bonus DVD including the video of the recordings that is well worth watching.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - November 2017 -   - Symbol Records