Yet, despite the expanded palette of harmonies and timbres afforded by the larger band, Willis keeps a firm hand on the tiller throughout – his characteristic minimalistic and repetitive touches are all here, as well as the timbral and melodic surprises which playfully dent and scratch the sheen of his music.
“The sinewy energy of this piano-less format winds the bristling tension up to cracking point on the more free-jazz passages. It is leavened with chill riffs from the classic tenor-trumpet hard-bop front line, and deep soul grooves underneath it all”.
The binding quality of Ellen Kirkwood’s music and her collaborations is that is consistently has one foot firmly in jazz and the other trailing in the waters of a tangy broth of blues, rock, gypsy swing, klezmer, reggae and you-name-it.
Multi-instrumentalist Paul Cutlan has always had a spiritual halo around his music.
Sandy Evans’ playing across the album is unique and spiritedly human, which is what we have come to expect from her. Her questing nature and driven desire to consistently move out of the confines of Jazz has shown her to be an artist going for a universal sound.
Casey Golden’s music appears to come from another world. There is the coolness and openness of outer space in this music. There is also an alienness about his compositions and his approach to improvisation that is at once intriguing and endlessly surprising
To see the two men working together, obviously digging each other’s playing was a thrill that pointed to this being one of the jazz gigs of the year for me. Griffin was overjoyed to be locking horns, literally, with the great Dale; Barlow, for his part, equally seemed to enjoy having the younger player’s sparkling alto nipping at his heels, pushing him into some hair-raising tenor work.
I have come late to the amazing playing of Sydney’s Michael Griffin. Walking into an Andrew Dickerson Quintet gig off the street I was floored by this pale young man utterly flying on that most nimble of the jazz horns – the alto. It seems I am just one in a long line of admirers, …
“…like all good modern art it asks to be listened to on its own terms. Yet it does not push away but creates a place for the listener to go and to explore as it happens. Unlike too much ‘experimental’ music, it includes; it does not exclude.”
The ishs/Allen Project has moved in a texturally tougher direction, bringing in electric bassist Paul Bonnington and brass player Ee Shan Pang. Yet this toughness gladly doesn’t bruise the music; it largely serves to add energy to the inherent exuberance of ish’s and Allen’s music.