Listen!Hear Collective CD, digital
Reviewed by Tony Mitchell, 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 album of standards, with Barney McAll, Jonathan Zwartz and Alan Browne, and Swailing, with his rather unusual trio of Stephen Magnusson on guitar and Steve Grant on button accordion, celebrating a decade’s activity.
Sweethearts consists of five pieces by Perth-born and New York-based bassist Anning, who was waiting for a visa to go back to the States after the 2012 Wangaratta Festival, and decided to book a studio in Melbourne for a day. There is also one tune by Wilson, and five standards, which Wilson seems to be more comfortable playing than original compositions. Obviously recorded in a short time, a notable feature of this album is Wilson recording on clarinet and bass clarinet for the first time, the former on his own composition Farewell, the latter on the final track, Anning’s composition Cactus Flower Reprise. Standards here include Walter Donaldson’s Little White Lies and Billy Strayhorn’s Little Brown Book on which Wilson plays tenor sax, two Irving Berlin tunes, The Best Thing for You Is Me, again on tenor, and Remember, on clarinet, and Duke Ellington’s Creole Rhapsody, on tenor. It’s a very laid-back session, sparsely arranged, with Browne barely audible at times, and although combining the abilities of three notable musicians, it never generates much in the way of excitement.