Sean Coffin’s tenor tone and approach fits the music perfectly. In his sound there are distinct echoes and cries from jazz history – the blues is prominent if abstracted – yet the same imagination that elevates his arrangements carries through to surprise us in his solos. Funky as fuck in ‘Booga Dunny’ (get it? ‘I’m a funny cat’, says SC), a soul-jazz boogaloo, he also plays a ballad such as ‘Quiet Thoughts’ with great depth – the coda cadenza was a composition in itself. His horn can bite but it can also kiss.
Month: July 2013
My brother, Carl Mackey, a sensational saxophonist, and I, grew up listening to the sounds of jazz. When everybody else was listening to Molly Meldrum’s Countdown in the 1970’s we were listening to John Coltrane’s ‘Countdown’. My father gave me John Coltrane’s 1957 album, ‘Rise and Shine’, aged 8, and this transformed my life…
He insists he is not a jazz man. ‘Seriously, I don’t think I’d be capable of making a genre specific album – I think of the people who shine in those genres and they define themselves in their own way. I think that in our post-modern state those boundaries mean less. I love Puccini, Ravel, Bach, Miles, Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Mingus, Charlie Parker, David Bowie… I just love great music.
The maker-or-breaker of course is in writing for the small ensemble. With such a limited musical palette of timbres and instrument capabilities, every decision has to count. Done badly, it can be turgid or insipid. To hit the sweet spot that is the intersection of composition, knowledge and vision, it helps to be a hell of a player, listener and thinker.
If an index of the ‘success’ of any art is its capacity to make an audience question what they have previously taken for granted, their own habitual modes, then on this measure Chameleons of the White Shadow, the 10th album from Joseph Tawadros in as many years, succeeds admirably…
Saxophonist-composer Gai Bryant, who is completing her Master’s in Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium, has found inspiration in traditional Cuban music for her latest big-band project.