Mike Nock / Laurenz Pike
On the piano: a jazz legend, a man who has been at the coalface of Australian improvised music for decades. On the drums: his former student, a recording artist for one of the world’s most prestigious electronic labels alongside the likes of Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Autechre and Grizzly Bear.
Two generations of Australian music come together in the music of Mike Nock and Laurenz Pike. It’s a musical conversation across the years, united by a commitment to storytelling through improvisation and the tradition of music as a spiritual, emotional, communicative art form.
The result is Kindred, the culmination of an ongoing friendship and dialogue between two distinct artists. Recorded in two sessions of pure improvisation in Sydney, ‘Kindred’ is a series of vignettes for piano and drums. It disregards easy virtuosity in pursuit of the moment. It transcends convention to explore a space where emotion, mood and narrative are paramount. Any questions of genre are abandoned by the desire to make music together.
Ethereal, inventive, humorous and atmospheric: these are postcards from a shared journey between two distinct voices in Australian music. ‘Kindred’ documents some of Nock’s most vital and inventive playing to date, delicately underpinned by Pike’s singular approach to the drum kit.
Nock, a pianist and composer born in New Zealand, is a pioneer of Australasian jazz. Now 71, he has been an omnipresent force in Australian music since he relocated to the country almost three decades ago. His recent recordings have been unanimously acclaimed, with a reputation that rests partly on his imposing international record. He spent 25 years in the US, where he played alongside some of the world’s greatest jazz talents, including Coleman Hawkins and Yusef Lateef. His 1970s jazz-rock group The Fourth Way, was considered by experts to be the first of its kind, with Nock acknowledged as the inventor of this particular style by the Grove Dictionary of Music.
In addition to his own playing, Nock has established a reputation for fostering generations of young talent. Pike, at 33, is one of many to have benefited from his guidance.
The young drummer was a teenager when he first worked with Nock, hand picked by the pianist from his classroom at Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music to the stage. They subsequently toured Australia and the world.
Separately, Pike has developed a global reputation of his own. Equally at home in the world of electronics, rock and improvisation, he is best known for his band PVT, which in 2008 became the first Australian act to be signed to the legendary UK label Warp Records, and has since become a regular fixture in the International musical landscape having performed in over 30 countries worldwide.
He has also worked with a diverse number of artists, including Australian Music Prize award winner Jack Ladder, Bill Callahan, Jan Jelinek, Prefuse 73, Modeselektor, Qua, UK Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle – and his own seminal electronic jazz trio Triosk.
So it should hardly need to be said that ‘Kindred’ is not just a jazz record. It’s not an electronic or rock record either. It’s a dialogue between two old friends: a moment of pure improvisation, music drawn from many wells that need no special pleading or labels, open to all willing to engage it.
See Mike Nock on the web> www.mikenock.com
Video: Mike Nock / Laurenz Pike ‘The Old Times’