Jazz

History Goes Everywhere

The Australysis Electroband. Roger Dean, leader, piano, computer; Sandy Evans, saxophones; Greg White, computer; with Hazel Smith, text, performer, the Blue Bus
Electronic Music, Improvisation, Jazz
Tall Poppies TP234
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2016

“Modernist Manchester project pursued way Down Under.” This is modernist music and then some, related in places to jazz and in others to Schoenberg et al, and post-serial music. I love it. Not everyone will but that’s okay by me, and the leader is adjusted to a divided reception. Australysis is assembled in slightly different… continue reading »


Fiddes vs Tinkler

Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. Andy Fiddes – composer and conductor; Scott Tinkler – trumpet soloist; David Theak – soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet; Aaron Michael – alto saxophone, flute; Evan Harris – tenor saxophone, flute; Matt Keegan – tenor saxophone, alto clarinet; Nick Bowd – baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Darryl Carthew – trumpet, flugelhorn; Dane Laboyrie – trumpet, flugelhorn; Ray Cassar – trumpet, flugelhorn; Simon Ferenci – trumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Panichi – trombone; Eleanor Shearer – trombone; Ben Gurton – trombone; Justin Kearin – Bass trombone; Carl Morgan – guitar; Hugh Barrett – piano; Tom Botting – contrabass; Jamie Cameron – drums and cymbals
Big Band, Jazz, Music
Rattle Records, New Zealand
www.rattlerecords.net
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2016

At first the idea of the musical union of trumpeter Scott Tinkler and the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra might appear a little incongruous. One might wonder how Tinkler, whose music sits on the more ‘free’ side of the improvised music spectrum, might work within an ensemble that operates, of necessity, within defined, somewhat inflexible structures. The… continue reading »


Artefact

Jeremy Sawkins Organ Quartet. Jeremy Sawkins, guitars; Darren Heinrich, organ; Spike Mason, saxophones; Toby Hall, drums
Jazz
Commissioned for ABC Jazz Digital Radio
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2016

The mystical span of the electric guitar; the funk and dance of the electric acoustic. It is no news that the modern electric guitar is capable of textural blitzes of feedback and a whole range of distortion effects. It is also true that it is capable of pure, thin, finely articulated notes that link it… continue reading »


On Love and Science. CD and illustrated hardback book

Zulya and the Children of the Underground. Musicians: Zulya Kamalova, vocals, writer, composer, leader; Lucas Michailidis, guitars; Aviva Endean, clarinets, tenor sax; Anthony Schulz, piano accordion, piano; Justin Marshall, drums, percussion; Andrew Tanner, double bass, jew’s harp. Accompanies illustrated book, hard back by Zulya Kamalova, illustrations by Dilka Bear
Folk, Fusion, Jazz, World
Self- release, self-published, limited edition. Purchase from website
http:// zulyaandthechildrenoftheunderground.com/
Reviewed by , March 3rd, 2016

This multimedia release is Zulya’s finest and most ambitious work to date. It demands attention and accolades. Zulya Kamalova, the Tatar/Australian world music trailblazer never ceases to surprise. Her previous release was a sci-fi computer music extravaganza. This one, back with her brilliant band The Children of the Underground, is a return to her world… continue reading »


The Cool School of the 1950s. The beginning of modern jazz in Australia

Australian Jazz Quintet, and bands led by Michael Walker, Bruce Clarke, Jack Brokensha, Lindsay Copeland, Clare Bail, Eddie Oxley, Brian Brown, Mike Nock
Jazz
2 CDs, Australian Jazz Museum AJM 034. Rare Collectable Jazz
www.ajm.org.au
Reviewed by , March 3rd, 2016

Curious and intriguing pages of modern jazz Down Under There is at least one oddity regarding early Australian modern jazz. Historically it seems to be back to front. In America the first jazz called “modern” (Don Burrows once sensibly pointed out that all jazz was modern in its time) certainly carried less sentiment than the… continue reading »


Amoroso

Grey Wing Trio. Luke Sweeting on piano, Ken Allars on trumpet, and Finn Ryan on drums
Jazz
Jazzhead HEAD 217
lukesweeting.bandcamp.com
Reviewed by , March 3rd, 2016

Sydney’s Grey Wing Trio present music that is seamlessly free-flowing, super-melodic, and harmonically engaging. Amoroso is, above all, infused with adventure, joy, and tenderness. With Luke Sweeting on piano, Ken Allars on trumpet, and Finn Ryan on drums, Grey Wing Trio offer an immediate dual focus on both composition and three-way interaction. But the beauty,… continue reading »


Two-Out

Mike Nock, piano; Roger Manins, tenor saxophone
Jazz
FWM Records 005
Reviewed by , March 3rd, 2016

Two of the finest jazzmen from the ‘Shaky Isles’ play jazz interpretations of popular tunes from the first half of the twentieth century. It is work whose beauty rivals that of the Tony Bennett/Bill Charlap award-winner from last year. This is an album made from recordings undertaken following an informal session of ‘jamming’ between two… continue reading »


Oranges and Sunshine. Elly Hoyt

Elly Hoyt, vocals; Scott Griffiths, piano; Darryn Farrugia, drums; Jonathan Zion, bass; William Barton, didgeridoo; Sarah Curro, violin; Anita Quayle, cello
Jazz
Self-release
www.ellyhoyt.com.au
Reviewed by , March 3rd, 2016

A fine second album from a young up and coming jazz singer, who isn’t afraid to broaden her scope and explore different genres with a kick-ass band. It’s great to see a new generation of Australian jazz singers coming through. Elly Hoyt hails from Tasmania but moved to Brisbane in 2006 to study at the… continue reading »


Unseen Scenes

Bungalow. Mike Rivett’s Japanese band. Rivett, tenor sax, electronics; Kichi Sata, piano; Hiroshi Ikejiri, bass; Ko Omura, drums, tabla.
Jazz
Studio Songs, YZSO 10057
http://www11.ocn.ne.jp/~songs/Studio_Songs_Web_Site/Welcome.html
Reviewed by , March 3rd, 2016

This Japanese-Australian quartet has a modern yet lyrical approach to their original stylized compositions leading to a balanced and very enjoyable album. Bungalow comprises Mike Rivett, sax, Kichi Sato, piano, Hiroshi Ikejiri, bass, and Ko Omura, drums, and their previous album Digital Seed was released in 2013. Mike Rivett, an Australian from Cairns, has lived… continue reading »


Alister Spence Trio: Live

Alister Spence, piano, samples, music box; Lloyd Swanton, double bass; Toby Hall, drums, glockenspiel
Jazz
Self-release
www.alisterspence.com
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

Since I began listening to the contemporary end of jazz, or what was the contemporary end then – in the early 1950s that was – I have heard many breakaways from forms and styles that had in themselves been breakaways. Sometimes the breakaway movement was sonically more violent, dissonant (even than thoroughgoing pre-serial atonality) and… continue reading »


Hope in My Pocket

Berardi, Foran, Karlen (Kristin Berardi, voice, Sean Foran piano, Rafael Karlen, tenor sax)
Jazz
Pinnacles Music PM0155
www.pinnaclesmusic.net
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

This project came about after the three musicians had worked together on the De-Classified Music series in Brisbane. After realising that 2015 was the ANZAC centenary, they decided to base their project on letters from original ANZACs. This theme is more conceptual than literal. Singer Kristin Berardi has written all the lyrics, with all three… continue reading »


The Migration

Stu Hunter (piano) with Cameron Undy (acoustic and electric bass), Simon Barker (drums and percussion), Carl Dewhurst (guitars), Matt Keegan (tenor and baritone sax, alto clarinet), Julien Wilson (tenor sax, bass clarinet, clarinet), James Greening (trombone, pocket trumpet, tuba), Phil Slater (trumpet) and vocalists Katie Noonan (on Twelve Stages of Freedom) and Tina Harrod
Jazz
Habitat (habitat1601)
stuthehunter.com
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

A luxurious, various and vital opus from Sydney pianist Stu Hunter. Featuring performances from the best of Australian jazz – Cameron Undy (acoustic and electric bass), Simon Barker (drums and percussion), Carl Dewhurst (guitars), Matt Keegan (tenor and baritone sax, alto clarinet), Julien Wilson (tenor sax, bass clarinet, clarinet), James Greening (trombone, pocket trumpet, tuba),… continue reading »


David Ades: A Life in a Day

David Ades, alto saxophone; Tony Malaby, tenor and soprano saxophones; Mark Helias, bass; Gerald Cleaver, drums
Jazz
Lionsharecords LSD20153
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

You may have gathered that over the past couple of years a group of highly important Australian musicians have died. As they all played predominately in the area of jazz, the presumption might be made that drug overdoses or drunken falls from rooftops could have been involved Nothing of the sort. Two parallels might be… continue reading »


H[igh] Curious

Eugene Ball 4tet. Eugene Ball, trumpet; James Macaulay, trombone; James McLean, drums; Mick Meagher, electric bass
Jazz
Opening Gambit Music
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

What is this? It is one of the most startling jazz records, unified yet diverse, that I have heard for some time. Where to start? Well, it begins with a roaring gravelly charge on trumpet, trombone and electric bass, over a crashing back beat, followed by brilliant, passionate trumpet and trombone solos… A transparent electric… continue reading »


The Sweetness of Things Half-Remembered

Rafael Karlen, tenor saxophone; Steve Newcomb, piano; Rebecca Karlen, violin; Eugenie Costello-Shaw, violin; Alice Buckingham, viola; Danielle Bentley, cello
Classical, Jazz, New Music
Self-release
To purchase, go to https://rafaelkarlen.bandcamp.com/album/the-sweetness-of-things-half-remembered
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

I faintly recall a time, which might be called the Ignorant Ages, in which some champions of composed music looked upon improvised music with disdain, and deemed it devoid of the nuance and complexity of composed music. At the same time, some devotees of improvised music derided composed music, declaring it uncreative, unimaginative and unadventurous…. continue reading »


Bigly Yellow. 90-minute documentary film

Simon Kent, cornettist, trombonist, composer. Adrian Sherriff, keyboard/didgeridou; Peter Harper, sax; Ted Vining, drums; Roy Voodt, guitar; Stephen Magnusson, guitar. Film directed by Nigel Deans and Nubar Ghazarian
Documentary, Film, Jazz, Music
Produced by Nubar Ghazarian, Tankstand Films, and Nigel Deans, Flying Fish Films
www.tankstandfilms.com/bigly-yellow/
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2016

This is film is a sounding of someone’s life, a plumb or plimsol line through a not notably stable figure, within but sometimes wandering from the Melbourne jazz scene. The camera has returned to him over a period of 15 years. It is of course Simon Kent, whom I met some time ago in Melbourne…. continue reading »


Begin

Alister Spence, Joe Williamson and Christopher Cantillo
Improvisation, Jazz
Alister Spence Music (ASM003)
alisterspence.com
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

This is the first release from the new trio of Australian pianist Alister Spence, Canadian bassist Joe Williamson and Swedish drummer Christopher Cantillo. Meeting at the crossroads of jazz and free improvisation, the musical sympathy and connection between Spence, Williamson and Cantillo is extremely strong (they have been playing together since 2009). The thirteen improvisations… continue reading »


Kristin Berardi: Where or When

Kristin Berardi, vocals, with Steve Newcomb piano, James Sherlock guitar, Julien Wilson tenor saxophone, Sam Anning bass.
Jazz
ABC Jazz 475 9263
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

All four members of this ensemble have earned a great many individual accolades for their work in Australian jazz. They are undoubtedly recognized as fine performers in their respective fields. The opening title track, Where or When is a highlight. A brief guitar introduction leads into the head statement with Berardi’s well-modulated voice accompanied by… continue reading »


Taking Pictures

Jo Lawry, singer/songwriter, vocals, guitar. One track a duet with Sting
Contemporary, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Rock
Fleurieu Music
www.jolawry.com
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

Jo Lawry is a singer/songwriter from South Australia currently living in New York. She is best known as a backing singer with Sting and has been touring the world in his band. She was also featured in the documentary about backing singers, 20 Feet from Stardom. When she was touring with Sting a couple of… continue reading »


Ambon, by Lloyd Swanton

Ensemble, comprising Lloyd Swanton – double bass, Paul Cutlan - bass clarinet, saxophones, recorder, James Eccles - playing Lloyd’s uncle’s viola for its first public performance since the 1930s, Sandy Evans - tenor and soprano saxophones, James Greening - trombone, cornet, pocket trumpet, tuba, Fabian Hevia - cajon, percussion, Chuck Morgan - ukulele, Jon Pease - guitar, Ron Reeves - kendang, percussion, Michel Rose - pedal steel guitar, Alex Silver - trombone, Hamish Stuart - drums
Jazz
2 CDs, Bugle Records. 36-page booklet
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

The question hanging over the Ambon interlude of WWII (for those who have actually heard of it) – is this: why send a cursory force to defend a small island against the Japanese when that island had little strategic value, being closer to Indonesia than to Australia (indeed it is now part of Indonesia)? Well,… continue reading »


This Narrow Isthmus

Julien Wilson Quartet. With Wilson, tenor sax and clarinet; Barney McAll, piano; Allan Browne, drums; Jonathan Zwartz, double bass
Jazz
Lionsharecords LSR20154
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

Here is a band at the heart of Melbourne jazz – with a Sydney man who was once a new Zealander on double bass. Julien Wilson has another band with two Sydney players. They are all part of the underground of collaborators who rejoice in the fact that we have two major cities that are… continue reading »


Sand Lines

Jeremy Rose Quartet. Rose, alto and soprano saxophones; Jackson Harrison, piano; Alex Boneham, double bass; James Waples, drums; Carl Morgan, guest guitar.
Jazz
Earshift Music
http://www.earshift.com/jeremy-rose-quartet-sand-lines-out-now/
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

Jeremy Rose has achieved national and international recognition for his playing and composing with exotically influenced band The Vampires, and through impressive and quite intricately composed suites – on which he also plays. It is always very pleasant and reassuring when as distinguished a player as Mike Nock sits beside you and, unprompted, shows similar… continue reading »


The Denominators

The Denominators. Paul Derricott, drums; Brendan Clarke, bass; Hugh Barrett, rhodes; Dave Jackson, saxophone. Guest: James Muller, guitar
Jazz
Self-release
www.paulderricott.com
Reviewed by , December 1st, 2015

I am reticent to generalise, but I am confident that many of you will agree that the notion of excitement in music has something to do with the relationship between accuracy and risk. While we like to hear music that is executed with precision, perfection is not the end-goal. While this is arguably true of… continue reading »


Provenance

Vince Jones and Paul Grabowsky
Jazz
ABC Jazz 475 3486
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2015

For some, the passage of time leads to the solace of entrenchment. But for others an accumulated wisdom entices them to succumb to the persistent eddy of creation. Vince Jones describes it so beautifully, ‘A person who doesn’t create is like a cloud that never rains.’ There is much precipitation on this album. So light… continue reading »


Melodious Thunk

Abbreviations Orchestra. Andrew Garton, alto saxophone; Dan Quigley, trumpet; Joe Roberts, tenor saxophone; John Carpenter, trombone; Bruce Woodard, guitar; Phil Jack, bass; Nathan Goldman, drums; guest: Zac Hurren, tenor saxophone
Jazz
Self-release, available for free digital download
www.abbreviationsorchestra.com
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2015

While the Abbreviations Orchestra is not (by definition) a ‘big band’, its debut album Melodious Thunk is certainly situated more in the realm of highly composed music than the world of improvisation. Though improvisation is a significant component, it is the execution of the notated material that takes precedence here. Happily, the notated material is… continue reading »


Mutiny Music

Baecastuff
Jazz
Self-release
www.mutinymusic.org
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2015

Mutiny Music is a journey across the Pacific. The album retells the linked histories of two islands, Pitcairn and Norfolk, while making a close study of musical and cultural fusion. There’s a number of ways of engaging with Mutiny Music. Of course, you can just press ‘play’ and take in the beauty of the varied… continue reading »


Jamie Oehlers. The Burden Of Memory

Jamie Oehlers, tenor saxophone; Paul Grabowsky, piano; Reuben Rogers, bass; Eric Harland, drums
Jazz
Assemblers R002
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2015

A perceived disjunction between the serious and sometimes even portentous titles of these brilliantly executed pieces and the often gentle feeling of the music held me at bay for a while. The title track must be excepted. This became airborne almost immediately. Racing passages, in which the bass flew lightly, intricately, at speed, on the… continue reading »


Lounge Suite Tango

The Umbrellas. Peter Dasent, piano, organ and accordion; James Greening, trombone, pocket trumpet and sousaphone; Andrew Robson, alto and baritone saxophones; Andrew Wilkie, vibraphone and marimba; Zoe Hauptmann, double bass; Toby Hall, drums
Jazz
Armchair Records ARM 01
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2015

I listened to this recording several times before I learned anything of the project leader and composer behind it. I must admit I was at first a tad bemused. Before my ears was a series of short, cartoon-esque tunes, but amid the caricatures were glimpses of deep, gritty improvising. It was tricky to know how… continue reading »


Hermeto Pascoal. The Monash Sessions.

Hermeto Pascoal, Doug de Vries, James Macauley, Julien Wilson, Jordan Murray and musicians from the Monash University jazz program
Jazz
Jazzhead HEAD 165
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2015

This album is the first of the Monash Sessions, a series of recordings from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University, Victoria, Australia. In March 2012 world famous Brazilian musician Hermeto Pascoal, after a residency with his band, participated in workshops, rehearsals and the recording of this CD with Australian jazz musicians… continue reading »


beginning and end of knowing. Mike Nock, Laurence Pike

Mike Nock, piano; Laurence Pike, drums
Jazz
FWM Records
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2015

This is a very valuable recording of a musical conversation between two superb artists, one older than I am by two months (like most of the great men we were born in 1940), the other (Pike) relatively young. The recording was beautifully made over two days in March at Rainbow Studio, Oslo. Just how much… continue reading »


The Remembering and Forgetting of the Air

Jonathan Zwartz
Jazz
Self-release
http://jonathanzwartz.com
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2015

With The Remembering and Forgetting of the Air, Sydney double bassist Jonathan Zwartz has produced another memorable collection of compositions, perhaps even better than his award-winning 2009 recording The Sea. The album features Barney McAll on piano, Phil Slater on trumpet, Julian Wilson on tenor saxophone, James Greening on trombone, Richard Maegraith on tenor saxophone… continue reading »


Josh Kyle. Songs of Friends

Josh Kyle, vocals, with Sam Keevers, piano
Jazz
Self-release
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

See the review for: Josh Kyle. Two discs: Possibilities, and Songs of Friends.


Josh Kyle. Possibilities, and Songs of Friends – two discs

Possibilities: Josh Kyle, vocals, with English band. Songs of Friends: Kyle, vocals, with Sam Keevers, piano
Jazz
Possibilities. Jazzizit Records JITCD 1155 Songs of Friends. Self-release.
https://www.facebook.com/JoshKyleMusic
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Recently we have seen and are still hearing a renaissance of the sometimes problematical art of jazz singing. Right now we will make some remarks regarding Josh Kyle, whose first CD Possibilities (recorded in 2010) is before us, which we will discuss before moving on to his more recent disc. You will have noted that… continue reading »


Live at Bennett’s Lane

Casey Golden Trio
Jazz
Scrampion Records 2015
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

The ethos of this ensemble is established from the opening drumming introduction to the tune entitled The 16th Hour. The composition proper is a rhythmic study of considerable collective complexity as threes overlay fours. The whole seems to be resolved by the collective understanding of the trio. Resolving differences is a feature of this album…. continue reading »


Still Still. Gian Slater

Gian Slater Trio. Gian Slater, voice and compositions, Nathan Slater, guitar, Chris Hale, bass guitar
Jazz
Which Way Music WWM 020
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Some years ago, I heard tracks from a feature album on ABC Radio National by Gian Slater, a then-recent graduate of the jazz course at the Victorian College of the Arts. At that time, I had just been working with a number of students from VCA at the Hawkesbury National Fiddle Festival. The wonderful staff… continue reading »


Alister Spence and Raymond MacDonald. Stepping Between the Shadows

Alister Spence, piano and prepared piano; Raymond MacDonald, alto and soprano saxophones
Improvisation, Jazz
Rufus Records, RF095
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Two musicians improvising together can be imagined as a Venn diagram, where the distinct ‘musicalities’ (think personalities expressed through music) of the individuals partially converge in moments of shared experience. This is not to suggest, however, that improvisers working in this format concern themselves primarily with expanding the zone of intersection: On the contrary, playing… continue reading »


Across the Top

Paul Cutlan, Brett Hirst, The NOISE
Improvisation, Jazz
Tall Poppies TP211
www.tallpoppies.net
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Across the Top is a convincing synthesis of European art music influences and jazz-informed improvisation. Paul Cutlan, one of Sydney’s leading improvising saxophonists, provides compositions that he performs with great sensitivity alongside bassist Brett Hirst and string quartet The NOISE – Veronique Serret and Lisa Pallandi on violin, James Eccles on viola, Ollie Miller on… continue reading »


Sanctuary. A meditation on memory, identity, family and the power of regeneration.

Gary Daley
Classical, Country, Jazz, Rock
Self-release
http://garydaley.com.au/welcome-ii/shop/
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2015

This is one of the most impressive and disturbing releases I have heard in recent times. Disturbing? It is difficult to disentangle the inherent power of this music from personal associations. Okay. Look, there is nothing unusual about me. I have been voted most boring man in Glebe and Annandale eight years in a row,… continue reading »


A Dove, A Lion, A Coast, A Pirate

Luke Howard Trio. Luke Howard, piano; Daniel Farrugia, drums; Jonathan Zion, double bass
Jazz
Which Way Music WWM018
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2015

This album is one of several recent Australian jazz albums to have been recorded at Rainbow Studio in Oslo that raises the question: why are Australian musicians going to Norway? The two countries have some similarities – both are middle size economies with a sparsely populated hinterland, enormous natural resources, an educated, fairly wealthy and… continue reading »


Mooroolbark

Barney McAll, with Julien Wilson, Stephen Magnusson, Jonathan Zwartz, Simon Barker, Mino Cinelu, and Shannon Barnett
Jazz
ABC Jazz 473 1260
www.abcmusic.com.au
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2015

One of our most engaging pianists, Barney McAll is currently working in Australia as the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Resident Composer (he is usually based in New York). McAll’s touch is unmistakable: a combination of the incredible force with which he performs (I’ve never seen someone play the piano so hard), his beautifully contorted harmonic language, and… continue reading »


Navigator

Arrow. Paul Derricott, drums and compositions; Eamon Dilworth, trumpet and compositions; Thomas Botting, double bass; Ben Hauptman, guitar
Jazz
Alluvium Records AR003
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/arrow3
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2015

Navigator is the second release from drummer Paul Derricott under the ensemble name Arrow. Given that he penned over 50% of the album, however, perhaps credit belongs equally to Derricott’s long-time collaborator, trumpeter Eamon Dilworth. Navigator is, in fact, a recording built on the notion of collaboration. This is not an album of tunes that… continue reading »


Big Sea

Arrow. Paul Derricott, drums; Hugh Barrett, piano; Dale Gorfinkel, vibes; Simon Ferenci, trumpet; Mike Majkowski, bass
Jazz
Jazzgroove JGR057
www.paulderricott.com
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2015

We live in an age where diversity is the key to a successful and happy life as a jazz/contemporary musician. Consider then, the challenge for such musicians when the time comes to release a debut recording: How does a diverse player represent her/himself on a single recorded artefact? For some, the problem results in a… continue reading »


Hetty Kate: Dim All the Lights. Vintage Love Songs of Peggy Lee, June Christy and Julie London

Hettie Kate, voice, with Sam Keevers, piano; Ben Robertson, bass; James Sherlock, guitar; Danny Farrugia, drums.
Jazz
ABC Jazz 378 2335
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2015

This CD features nine classics from the Great American Songbook, sung by a young woman from Melbourne whose voice possesses a purity of tone that is perfect for the chosen material. Combining this timbral quality with a sense of phrasing destined to extract sub-textual meaning from the lyrics, and a control of pitch that is… continue reading »


This Time

Grigoryan Brothers
Classical, Jazz, New Music, World
Which Way Music WWM022
www.whichwaymusic.com
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2015

This album was difficult to resist given the names adorning it. The Grigoryan Brothers need no introduction. Slava and Leonard Grigoryan are highly renowned guitarists in both Australia and around the globe with many awards to their credit. Here they have collaborated with quite diverse composers, from the nouveau classical Nigel Westlake, to jazz composer… continue reading »


Kapture

Post by , June 1st, 2015

Kapture is a masterfully performed fusion of jazz and Indian classical musics with a sprinkling of other influences from across the globe. Sandy Evans (alto and tenor saxophone), Bobby Singh (tabla), Brett Hirst (double bass) and Toby Hall (drums and percussion) are joined on four of the twelve tracks by vocalist Sarangan Sriranganathan. Inspired by… continue reading »


Alluvium

Tiny Hearts. Eamon Dilworth, Dave Jackson, Steve Barry, Tom Botting, Paul Derricott, plus Elana Stone.
Jazz
Alluvium Records AR001
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2015

Presented as “a collection of stories written individually and re-imagined together”, this album by Tiny Hearts is true to its promise with some fine writing and good individual and collective improvisation. The group’s music does indeed sound like the sum of individual parts or as they put it, “segments of personality drifting along a stream… continue reading »


Suspicion

The Tango Saloon
Experimental Music, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Tango
Romero Records and Newmarket Music NEW3342.2/ROM010
http://thetangosaloon.com
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2015

Any band that describes itself as experimental tango meets spaghetti western with a dose of film score, rock, pop, gypsy, jazz and electronica thrown in for good measure is going to grab my attention. The Tango Saloon makes music that is indeed Piazzolla meets Morriconi and Equivel. I first came across them when they appeared… continue reading »


Matthew Sheens. Untranslatable

Matthew Sheens, piano, with Sara Serpa, vocals, Michael Mayo, vocals, Mike Moreno, guitar, Linda Oh, bass, Kenneth Salters, drums, Rodregio Boccato, percussion, Stefani Collins, violin 1, Francesca Dardani, violin 2, Yumi Oshima, viola, Hiro Matsuo, cello, Yanni Burton, double bass
Jazz
ABC Music
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/untranslatable/id904229781 www.matthewsheens.com
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2015

Compositions that employ straight (not swung) quavers, complex meters and complex harmonic sequences have been heard in jazz for decades and are very much in vogue today. This is not surprising given that many young jazz musicians are heavily influenced by ‘popular’ music (straight quavers), and are conservatoire trained and as such, often drawn to… continue reading »


Brotherhood

Abbey, Foster, Falle
Jazz
Newmarket NEW3319.2
www.facebook.com/abbeyfosterfalle
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2015

Jazz thrives on the sustained development of integrity and trust formed in the relationships between musicians within micro and macro music communities around the world over time. The music of such communities often beckons members of extremely diverse backgrounds and interests to join and flourish within the ranks of its existing participants. Somehow or other… continue reading »


Outliers

Casey Golden Trio
Jazz
Self-release. https://caseygoldenmusic.bandcamp.com/album/outliers
www.caseygolden.com
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2015

Casey Golden’s music is a breath of fresh air. In some ways his music is everything you would expect from an Australian contemporary jazz release. It has virtuoso musicianship, odd metric structures and pop sensibilities, but it is also much more. Golden’s orchestrations wrest as much colour and variation out of the trio (piano, bass,… continue reading »


Adam Katz

Adam Katz, piano. With Keith Carlock, Julien Wilson, Steve Magnusson, Nic Lam, Christian Meyer, Ben Anderson, Brendan Tsui on various tracks
Jazz
Newmarket Music, NEW 3321.2
www.adamkatzmusic.com
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2015

This cheerful album is well recorded with good clear sound at the reputable Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne, and features a good line-up of Melbourne based musicians with Adam Katz, piano, Keith Carlock, drums, Julien Wilson, and Ben Anderson, sax, Steve Magnusson, Nic Lam, and Christian Meyer, guitar, Ben Anderson, sax, and Brendan Tsui, bass…. continue reading »


Every Eight Seconds

Matthew Sheens, piano, with octet
Jazz
Self-release
www.matthewsheens.com
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

It’s not very often one discovers a young pianist who impresses you with his technique, compositions, arrangements and ambition. Adelaide’s US-based Matthew Sheens satisfies in all these areas. His music is very well arranged, with well thought out and structured compositions usually comprising many different sections, layers of melody, counterpoint, and interweaving rhythms. There are… continue reading »


Seasons of Love

Gian Slater, Eddie Perfect, Tony Gould and Graeme Lyall
Jazz
Move MD 3365
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

Jazz musicians have been recording with strings for some time now. Though dance bands of the 1940s often employed small string sections, it was the albums of the 1950s featuring the most prominent instrumentalists of the day – Parker, Clifford, Dizzy, Wes – that truly established the tradition in which Seasons of Love sits. While… continue reading »


First Intersection

Daryl Pratt Band. Daryl Pratt (vibraphone), Matt McMahon (piano & Fender Rhodes), Richard Maegraith (alto & tenor saxophone), Philip South (acoustic/electric percussion, marimba, sound design & malletKat), Emile Nelson (4 & 5-string electric basses), Jared Underwood (drums)
Jazz
Self-release
http://sydney.edu.au/music/staff-profiles/daryl.pratt.php
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

From the first note to the last, this album establishes unequivocally that the Sydney-based Daryl Pratt Band is a stimulating collective of virtuosi. Indeed, it is a wise choice of players, as Pratt’s elaborate compositions demand a high degree of sensitivity, awareness and stamina balanced in wide variety and contrast throughout the album. Individually, each… continue reading »


Live at PBSFM 1981

Ted Vining Trio
Jazz
Newmarket3314.2
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

The Ted Vining Trio, consisting of Vining on drums, Bob Sedergreen piano and Barry Buckley on bass, was three-quarters of the quartet that made me excited about ‘free’ jazz in 1977. I heard about the Brian Brown Quartet while I was attending a music education conference in Canberra. Brown was in the midst of a… continue reading »


Aubade & Nocturne: Music of Sally Greenaway

Sally Greenaway; Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra; Luminescence Chamber Choir; Trichotomy; others
Big Band, Classical, Jazz, Music, New Music
Self-release
www.sallygreenaway.com.au
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

Young composers with the stamina and wherewithal to independently fund, record, and produce their own albums are rare. Sally Greenaway has managed it three times. Her first two records focused on the big band. This album, her first art music foray, is a significant departure. Taking her inspiration from the ABC Swoon series, Ms Greenaway… continue reading »


Volume Two

The Cope Street Parade. Justin Fermino, tenor saxophone and vocals; Ben Panucci, guitar and vocals; Aaron Flower, guitar; Sam Dobson, double bass; Grant Arthur, sousaphone, trombone and backing vocals
Jazz, Traditional
Yum Yum Tree Records YYTR 016
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2015

Early jazz styles have a long and rich history in Australia. Though their popularity has repeatedly waxed and waned, the tradition remains very much alive in Australia today. There is, however, a dilemma with which most contemporary musicians who look to the past for inspiration must grapple, which lies around the false dichotomy of imitation… continue reading »


Tender Earth

Simon Tedeschi, piano. Works by Kevin Hunt, Mark Isaacs, Evan Lohning, Mike Nock, Bill Risby
Jazz
ABC Classics 481 0960.
Reviewed by , March 1st, 2015

Simon Tedeschi observes in the liner notes that all the Australian composers selected for this recording are “jazzers”, whom he considers to be ahead of the curve conceptually here in Australia. “Jazz, an art music for many decades, has produced some of our country’s finest musical auteurs”. It’s an interesting claim, quite possibly true, but… continue reading »


Can You See with Two Sets of Eyes?

Marc Hannaford, piano, with Ellery Eskelin,Tom Rainey, Scott Tinkler
Experimental Music, Jazz
Self-release
http://www.marchannaford.com/buy
Reviewed by , March 1st, 2015

If you have ever had the pleasure of conversing with Marc Hannaford, or of reading his regular blog ‘Dualism aside…’, you are likely to have been quick to establish for yourself that he is extremely serious about life and music. In listening through his latest album – beautifully recorded in New York City and released… continue reading »


Place to Be

Alex Stuart - guitar, composition; Irving Acao - tenor saxophone & Fender Rhodes; Stephane Guillaume - tenor & soprano saxophone; Antoine Banville - drums & gong; Christophe Wallemme - double & electric bass
Jazz
Gaya Music Productions
www.alexstuartmusic.com
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

Alex Stuart is an Australian guitarist who has been living and performing in Paris for a number of years. I am not sure how he is received in Europe, but his work makes an interesting counterpoint to Australian jazz as a geographically distant but highly relevant exponent of contemporary jazz guitar playing and composition. Having… continue reading »


Tinkly Tinkly

Jess Green’s Bright Sparks
Jazz
Yum Yum Tree Records (YYTR007)
www.jessgreen.com.au
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

Tinkly Tinkly is the second release by Sydney guitarist and vocalist Jess Green. Despite the size of Green’s band (eight players), the music here is mobile, often full of light, dark when it wants to be, and strikingly diverse. I put the openness and agility of this album down to great arranging: the players are… continue reading »


Paper Tiger

Stephen Magnusson, Jamie Oehlers and Ben Vanderwal
Jazz
Assemblers Records (assemblers001)
www.assemblersrecords.com
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

On Paper Tiger, three Australian jazz stalwarts combine in the slightly unusual bassless format. Such a move gives a lightness to the sound that suits the improvisations and song choices of tenorist Jamie Oehlers, guitarist Stephen Magnusson and drummer Ben Vanderwal. Of the fifteen tracks, all but four are originals, and the playing and compositional… continue reading »


To Sail, To Sing

Nat Bartsch Trio
Jazz
Self-release NBT001
Reviewed by , February 1st, 2015

‘What about the serenity?!’ Darryl Kerrigan’s enthusiasm for tranquility came to mind while I was listening to this disc. Pianist/leader Nat Bartsch drops notes of melody into the silence like drops of water onto the calm surface of a pond. Even when the rhythm turns rocky, as in the track called Let’s Go Little Dude,… continue reading »


Suite SIMA

Mike Nock Octet
Jazz
FWM Records004
Reviewed by , January 1st, 2015

Sydney Improvised Music Association has fostered contemporary Australian jazz in that city for thirty years. Every member of the Mike Nock Octet has benefited from and taken part in the association’s activities. Although the individual horn players are each given an opportunity to contribute an improvisation, this is no ‘blowing album’. Each composition features a… continue reading »


Destination People Street

Moth People
Contemporary, Indie, Jazz
Synergy Percussion
Reviewed by , January 1st, 2015

Artistic Director of Synergy Percussion, Timothy Constable, is the consummate musician, covering the spectrum of genres in his work as a percussionist and composer, from taiko drum extravaganzas, to classical interpretations and jazz. The ensemble’s latest venture seeks commissions for 40 composers to each create pieces lasting 40 seconds for a celebration of the group’s… continue reading »


Opal Dream

Howie Smith and Mike Nock
Jazz
Open Blue OBCD-1201
Reviewed by , January 1st, 2015

Saxophonist Howie Smith, who is based in Cleveland, Ohio, established the first university jazz studies program at the Sydney Conservatorium in 1973 on a Fulbright grant, and was Director of Jazz Studies there for three years as well as a member of Jazz Co/op with Roger Frampton, Phil Treloar and bassist Jack Thorncraft. He has… continue reading »


Hear and Know

Mike Nock Trio Plus
Jazz
FWM Records (FWM002)
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2014

Hear and Know is a finely balanced and detailed record of the encounter between a master and four perceptive, thoughtful and highly skilled musical devotees. Sydney pianist Mick Nock’s regular trio with James and Ben Waples – on drums and double bass respectively – is here augmented by Karl Laskowski on tenor saxophone and Ken… continue reading »


Words

Collider
Jazz
House of POW and Fatrain Music
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2014

This is music without category, yet undeniably music. I would love to hear this material performed live. Its deliberate literary references place it in the category of performance poetry equally with music – these are poems without words. But why concern ourselves with classification? Is it played well? Does it engender thoughts in the mind… continue reading »


Sons Of No Guns For We Are Anomalous

Song Fwaa
Contemporary, Jazz, New Music
Reviewed by , November 1st, 2014

Song Fwaa is the name of a Sydney based art jazz, new music trio consisting of Martin Kay (alto saxophone), David Reaston (acoustic nylon 8-string guitar with effects) and Jamie Cameron (drums and cymbals). In their second album, Sons Of No Guns For We Are Anomalous, they continue to explore experimental composition techniques and the… continue reading »


George Garzone, The Monash Sessions

Garzone, sax, with a number of student and faculty ensembles. Monash University Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music
Big Band, Jazz, Music
Jazzhead, HEAD166
Reviewed by , October 1st, 2014

Boston saxophonist and jazz educator George Garzone has visited Australia many times and when here would rehearse and workshop with Monash University music students. This in turn has led to a residency and mentorship at Monash University in 2011, a concert at Melbourne jazz club Bennetts Lane and finally this recording. There are four sessions:… continue reading »


Backblocks

Sam Bates, with Marc Hannaford, Philip Rex
Jazz
Newmarket NEW3334.2
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2014

This offering is issued under the name of Sam Bates, the composer of all seven compositions recorded. It is, however, the result of very equal participation by the members of a trio consisting of Bates on drums, Marc Hannaford on piano and Philip Rex on double bass. Explanatory text on the CD case is sparse… continue reading »


Pierrot

Felucca
Jazz
Jazzgroove Records (JGR063)
www.jazzgroove.com
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2014

For Felucca, contemporary music means synthesis. Pierrot, the debut album of the Sydney trio, is a confident statement of modern jazz. This is not the over-reaching jazz-fusion of decades past but an approach to song writing and improvisation that, despite replacing electric guitar and vocals with tenor saxophone, still places the rock before the jazz…. continue reading »


Wave Rider

Andrea Keller Quartet with Strings
Improvisation, Jazz, New Music
Jazzhead, Head191
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2014

Wave Rider could be the title of a seventies surfing movie, but in fact this album from Melbourne pianist Andrea Keller’s quartet with strings, is a beautiful hybrid of jazz, improvisation and composition. It is inspired by natural phenomena; waves in the forms of water, light and air. The strings are a second quartet. Erkki… continue reading »


Wear More Headbands

The Grid
Electronic Music, Jazz
listen/hear collective
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2014

The Grid has answered the question posed by the epochal American composer Frank Vincent Zappa on the cover of his 1984 live album: Does humor belong in music? Well, coupled with The Grid’s au courant virtuosity – yes. This trio comprised of Tim Jago, guitar, Dane Alderson, bass and Ben Vanderwal, drums, has released a… continue reading »


Monash Art Ensemble

Monash Art Ensemble and the Australian Art Orchestra
Big Band, Improvisation, Jazz, Music
JazzHead, Head171
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2014

The Monash Art Ensemble is the fruit of the collaboration between members of the Australian Art Orchestra and the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, playing the music of Paul Grabowsky. The composer’s liner notes describe the bringing together of two worlds of improvisation and notation. There are two works on the recording: Variations (d’un… continue reading »


Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out

Kristin Berardi, vocals, James Sherlock, guitar
Jazz
Self-release
www.kristinberardi.com and www.jamessherlock.com
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2014

The challenge for singer/guitar duos is to maintain sufficient rhythmic and textural interest in what is a pared back and vulnerable setting. Without bass and drums, it is hard for any guitarist to provide the whole package of accompanying with chords, providing a walking bass where needed, making melodic comments between vocal phrases and taking… continue reading »


City Speaks

Callum g’Froerer and quintet
Jazz
Listen/Hear Collective
www.listenhearcollective.com
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2014

If the City Speaks, its dialect is cool, languid. Its time is the dark flow of the night. Often understated playing brings to life a unified set of harmonically rich compositions. Melbourne-based trumpet player Callum g’Froerer has assembled Andrew Brooks on alto saxophone, Brett Thompson on guitar, Alex Boneham on double bass and Hugh Harvey… continue reading »


Timeline

Craig Scott Quintet
Jazz
Rufus Records, RF091
Reviewed by , August 1st, 2014

Bass player Craig Scott has recorded and performed with all of the best known Australian jazz musicians including Don Burrows, George Golla, James Morrison and Judy Bailey. In the late seventies, his first band of note was the Keith Stirling Quintet. Stirling’s modernist tendencies earned him the nickname ‘Cosmic Keith’ and his quintet was in… continue reading »


Permission to Evaporate

Joseph Tawadros, with Christian McBride, James Tawadros, Matt McMahon, Mike Stern
Jazz, Middle Eastern, World
ABC Music 481 0917
www.josephtawardros.com
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

Joseph Tawadros is prolific and adventurous. He is Australia’s leading exponent of the oud, a North African and Middle Eastern lute. He is also a trailblazer in cross-cultural music collaboration and a two-time ARIA Award winner for Best World Music Album. Permission To Evaporate was recorded in New York in just two days in February… continue reading »


Network of Lines

Tilman Robinson
Electronic Music, Jazz, New Music, Rock
Listen/Hear Collective
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

Network of Lines is a suite in ten parts, nine of them written and arranged by composer/trombone player Tilman Robinson. The tenth is an arrangement by Robinson of a piece by songwriter Sean O’Neill. There are no distinct beginnings or endings, each track slowly and effortlessly dissolves into the next. The music is played with… continue reading »


Family Portraits

Andrea Keller
Classical, Jazz, New Music
Jazzhead HEAD188
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

In Family Portraits Andrea Keller, on piano, with Boss RC loop station, Line 6 delay pedal and preparations, presents a deeply personal collection of compositions. Keller’s ninth album as leader utilises loop and delay pedals to complement the piano, as well as preparations to the strings that emphasise the percussive quality of the instrument. In… continue reading »


The Sword and the Brush

Red Fish Blue
Jazz
Keynetic Records KR0022013
http://keyneticrecords.com/
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

With pianist Sam Keevers, acoustic bassist Brett Hirst, and two percussionists, Simon Barker on drum kit and Changgo drum, and Javier Fredes on congas, bata, darabuka, shakers and hand percussion, the second release from Red Fish Blue combines a laid-back Cuban impulse with controlled, often understated compositions. Keevers’ playing, which is measured, engaging, and often… continue reading »


Virtual Proximity

James Annesley / Virtual Proximity
Electronic Music, Jazz
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

Virtual Proximity is the debut album produced by Melbourne saxophonist James Annesley. It is jazz-electronica, slow to medium tempo darkly shaded beats and loops overlaid with post-Coltrane tenor and soprano saxophone improvisations. The project has developed into a live performing unit also known as Virtual Proximity since the original CD release, making the digital release… continue reading »


The Bitter Suite

Paul Grabowsky composer, performed by Paul Grabowsky Sextet
Jazz
ABC Jazz 377 1278
Reviewed by , July 1st, 2014

For me, the measure of a true muso is in the execution of the slow stuff. There are several pieces on The Bitter Suite which meet my required assessment criteria in this regard. For example on Black Saffron a beautiful passage focusses on the harmonic unification of trombone and saxophones. Jamie Oehlers introduces it after… continue reading »


Haveli

Post by , July 1st, 2014

An increasing number of Australian jazz musicians are seeking to move beyond the association with American jazz that was their inheritance, instead establishing a more distinctive local identity through collaborations with regional neighbours in the Asia-Pacific. The Australian Art Orchestra’s pioneering collaboration with Guru Kaaraikudi Mani’s Sruthi Laya Ensemble in 1996, and Simon Barker’s work… continue reading »


Connect Four

Duets: Paul Williamson, trumpet with each of', Paul Grabowsky, Tony Gould, Andrea Keller, Marc Hannaford, pianists
Jazz
Jazzhead HEAD190
Reviewed by , June 1st, 2014

Over several centuries, the trumpet has developed a reputation as one of the most “macho” instruments in the orchestra. If brashness and aggression are called for, the trumpet is never too far from the frontline. In certain jazz circles, a trumpeter’s ability to play high and fast is considered exciting and impressive. For these kinds… continue reading »


Karaoke. The Usefulness of Art

Origami
Jazz
Fat Rain
Reviewed by , May 2nd, 2014

 Origami’s 2011 debut The Blues of Joy featured a collection of original compositions augmented by a covers of pop tunes by the likes of Snow Patrol and OutKast. Now this Melbourne-based trio is back and this time they have expanded on their formula by releasing two CDs simultaneously – one of original compositions and one… continue reading »


Sylvan Coda

Post by , May 2nd, 2014

Pianist Will Poskitt was an integral part of the Chris Hale Ensemble on three albums and countless gigs between 2001 and his death in 2008 at the tragically young age of 31. Sylvan Coda, Hale’s first release since Poskitt’s passing, is dedicated to his memory. Hale, who plays a six string semi-acoustic bass guitar, was… continue reading »


Far Flung

Alister Spence Trio
Jazz
Rufus Records RF105
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2014

Launched at the Sound lounge in Sydney in October 2012, Far Flung is a double album which continues the adventurous explorations of pianist Spence’s 2009 Fit, which I reviewed in an earlier Music Forum.  There is the addition of a midi controller and ‘music box’ which generates samples of recordings of the trio, consisting of… continue reading »


Swailing

Julien Wilson Trio
Jazz
Lionsharecords LSR20142
www.julienwilson.com, www.lionsharecords.com
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2014

 In his 2009 book Jazz: The Australian Accent, John Shand describes the Julien Wilson trio, one of only three Melbourne-based musicians and bands to feature in the book, as follows: ‘[l]ike the Necks and Band of Five Names, the trio has found its own egalitarianism; its own way to let Wilson’s tenor saxophone, Stephen Grant’s… continue reading »


Just Enough

Tom Vincent Morphic Resonance Project
Jazz
Lumbini House
http://www.tomvincent.com.au/music
Reviewed by , May 1st, 2014

 Morphic is usually a word element (suffix) added to an adjective such as in ‘anthropomorphic’. As well, the term morph has assumed the function of a verb in contemporary usage, particularly to indicate some kind of radical change. I mention these well-known facts in order to convey a part of my thinking when I was… continue reading »


Daramad

Post by , April 1st, 2014

This beautifully presented CD explores a fusion of traditional Middle Eastern music, Eastern European music, Asian music and a soupcon (maybe a little more) of western jazz. Daramad are, let’s get this out of the way, musicians of skill and nuance. Western instruments such as the guitar and clarinet mix beautifully with ‘world’ instruments such… continue reading »


Lost in the Stars

Allan Browne Trio, with Marc Hannaford, Sam Pankhurst
Jazz
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

Not another Kurt Weill compilation, but ‘interpretations of the zodiac suites of Mary Lou Williams and Karlheinz Stockhausen’, this album features the prolific and ever-adventurous drummer Browne with a trimmed down ensemble of Marc Hannaford on piano and Sam Pankhurst on bass. The piano-bass-drums formula here sounds totally fresh and far-reaching, partly due to the… continue reading »


Weaver of Dreams

The Andrew Dickeson Quintet
Jazz
Rufus Records RF097
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

The drummer of this quintet is well known around the Sydney and wider jazz world, but this is his first release as a bandleader. He has assembled a group of very well-credentialed contemporary musicians including Roger Manins (tenor sax), Eamon McNelis (trumpet), Steve Barry (piano) and Alex Boneham (bass). The recording was done, with an… continue reading »


Springs, for all the Winters

Nat Bartsch Trio
Jazz
Rufus Records RF110
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

When this CD was released in 2010, the Nat Bartsch Trio (NBT) consisted of the pianist (Bartsch), Josh Holt was the bassist and Leigh Fisher played drums. The music was very tastefully improvised. Taste and subtlety are paramount throughout, however at no stage does the music descend into ‘noodling’. There is an ever-present sense that… continue reading »


The Healer

Anton Delecca Quartet
Jazz, Music, Reviews
Jazzhead HEAD-192
http://www.antondeleccaquartet.com/
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

There is a point some artists reach in their careers where they have such mastery of the technical and expressive capabilities of their craft that their work seems effortless. When this happens with all players in an ensemble it is really quite special. This, the third album from Anton Delecca’s Quartet, The Healer, embodies this… continue reading »


Kopfüberwelle

Chris Abrahams, organ, Sabine Vogel, flute
Improvisation, Jazz
Absinth Records 024 limited edition
www.absinthrecords.com/
Reviewed by , April 1st, 2014

Chris Abrahams is nothing if not versatile. Recently I was in Auckland, New Zealand, and happened to catch him in performance three times in a row. The first night was a sublime solo piano recital, which I wish had been recorded, consisting of two sets on a Yamaha in an art gallery in the depths… continue reading »


The Opening Statement

Post by , April 1st, 2014

This is the debut album of the Divergence Jazz Orchestra, an 18-piece outfit that plays music by Jenna Cave who also conducts, as well as by other Australian composers such as Judy Bailey, Steve Newcomb and William Motzing. The album was produced via crowdfunding, an increasingly popular method of fund raising which involves individual contributors,… continue reading »


Yonder by The catholics

Yonder

The catholics
Jazz
Bugle Records BUG009, CD, digital
www.buglerecords.com/cv.html
Reviewed by , March 2nd, 2014

The catholics (with a small c) are one of numerous other bands Lloyd Swanton plays in, here as bandleader, and couldn’t be more different from the sustained minimalist austerity of the Necks (see Open review). Formed in 1991, two years after the Necks released Sex, their lineup has been fairly steady since then, with Sandy… continue reading »


Yellow Sticker by Tal Cohen

Yellow Sticker

Tal Cohen
Jazz
Self release
Reviewed by , March 2nd, 2014

The quartet on this recording consists of Tal Cohen (piano), Jamie Oehlers (tenor saxophone), Pete Jeavons (double bass) and Chris Tarr (drums). Since its release in 2011 it has received acclaim from reputable sources in the jazz community. Cohen has also distinguished himself as a young pianist whose services are much sought after. His set… continue reading »


Sweethearts by Sam Anning, Julien Wilson, Allan Browne Trio

Sweethearts

Sam Anning, Julien Wilson, Allan Browne Trio
Jazz
Listen!Hear Collective CD, digital
listenhearcollective.bandcamp.com/album/sweethearts
Reviewed by , March 2nd, 2014

Reed player Julien Wilson, winner of the 2008 Australian Jazz Bell Award for Australian Jazz Artist of the Year and the 2006 Freedman Jazz Fellowship, has been an established figure on the Melbourne jazz scene for a couple of decades, and his numerous releases include two other CDs this year, This Is Always, a quartet… continue reading »


Sun, Cloud by Luke Howard

Sun, Cloud

Luke Howard
Classical, Jazz
Self-release. CD, vinyl or digital
www.lukehoward.com
Compositions by Howard. Performance by small orchestra, ensembles, soloists
Reviewed by , March 2nd, 2014

In Melbourne they say if you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes. But on the 13/11/13 it rained and rained … and then some. Awaiting a grand entrance to the South-Eastern ‘Freeway’ I confronted an island of alert red tail lights. I slipped on Luke Howard’s Sun, Cloud seeking a different means of… continue reading »


Smile by The Idea of North

Smile

The Idea of North
A cappella, Jazz
ABC Records
Reviewed by , March 2nd, 2014

James Morrison, in his liner notes to this album states, baldly and with good reason, ‘A cappella is different’. The Idea of North have been around for two decades (can it really be that long?), showing exactly how a cappella is different. A cappella needs a few elements to get it to work. You don’t… continue reading »


Open by The Necks

Open

The Necks
Jazz
Fish of Milk FOM0016
www.thenecks.com
Reviewed by , March 2nd, 2014

In their 25th year of operation, the Necks seem to have reached a peak. A highly successful European tour, in which they sold out three nights at the Café Oto, one of the major London venues for experimental music, and several other venues as well, were invited to play a set with leading British saxophonist… continue reading »


Memory Night

Chris Abrahams, piano
Improvisation, Jazz
Room 40 RM453
Reviewed by , March 1st, 2014

Chris Abrahams’ third solo recording on Brisbane-based Lawrence English’s Room 40 label is a radical departure from his previous piano-based releases on the label, Thrown and Play Scar, insofar as we are mid-way through the third of four tracks before we hear a piano with any clarity, and then it appears only briefly. Most of… continue reading »


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