Each of the nine pieces are more settings than compositions, or even improvisation – settings for Dilworth to express this idea of viata/life, and his reaction to it. Many of the tunes on ‘Viata’ have a European dissonance, a Bartokian slipping in and out of key and tone – not exactly dissonance, more the stretching of the envelope, a very human thing, tying it to the universality of the blues.
Derricott has always been one of our most surprising drummers, technically exciting while at ease in any improvisational situation, creating effortlessly and colourfully.
James Muller’s tone across the entire album is immaculate: rich yet biting when it needs to be, with piano-like chords or brittle percussive comping. The minimal comping and lack of piano lends all of the performances an open, contrapuntal transparency that lend it an astringent economy, letting the music breath organically. Exciting stuff.
Recorded with two different Andy Sugg Groups in those two darkly glittering Gothams of jazz, New York and Melbourne, the eight tracks on Tenorness span the breadth of the tenors expression in modern jazz.
Steve Barry’s recent writing has evolved a highly individual and idiosyncratic language that colours the logic of his melodic line. Harmonically he has become even more adventurous, and rhythmically he plays with time and the stretching of time in truly eye and ear-opening ways.
Across ‘The Game’, Trish Delaney-Brown’s vocal scat (in duet and solo) is exquisite, always intriguing, never empty histrionics.
Their latest album, ‘Confluence’, is made up of two long improvisations – the 40-minute ‘Stream’ and the 24- minute ‘Flow’. The titles are fitting, as this music has much in common with the nature of both water and of electricity: rushing between banks, bubbling over rapids, coming to rest calm and lake-serene, sparking, ever moving to a point of resolution or rest.
Shannon Barnett writes brilliantly for jazz – there is challenge, rhythmically and melodically, but there is also space enough to move around in.
And that from anguish to giddy silliness, and everything in between is the scope of [A]part. It is a massive piece in every way: challenging to the ear and the mind, highly original (as we know Kirkwood to always be), often cerebral and abstract, all the time threatening to be too much to take in in one sitting. But what saves it from possible overwhelm is that Kirkwood never loses the emotional thread in the music; it is human music and it consistently makes you feel. Sometimes, as with all valid contemporary art, those feelings can be baffling or even plain uncomfortable, but you do feel them deeply.
Slater’s voice is a perfect choice for the Trio and Stephenson’s songs. Bell-clear, it is a fluid thing, like smoke or drifting water, avoiding any grating blues edges or forced earthiness. It is this instrumental quality a hallmark of all valid jazz singing that fits so neatly with the modern angles and curves of Stephenson’s compositions