‘If you’re going to do anything in life you just have to say, “Well, I’ve just got to make my little patch of garden over here”, and if I’m improvising, try and be faithful from one moment to the next. That’s all I can try and do, otherwise you go crazy.’
Instead of perpetuating the importation of American models of jazz, James McLean went and soaked up the ideas and attitudes of someone who had stepped out from that giant shadow decades ago; someone who might help him find his own path into the music – Phil Treloar.
Collin’s research has been considerable, if by no means exhaustive, and his prose is fluent and eminently readable. Morrison’s legion of fans will find much to enjoy.
You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs goes the saying, and the eggs that have gone into this Omelette are of two varieties: a love of grooves and a love of more ethereal improvisation. Setting the band apart is its occasional ability to whisk these two together. This has also been a defining attribute of guitarist Stephen Magnusson across the years, and here trombonist Jordan Murray, bassist Mark Shepherd and drummer Ronny Ferella prove they share these preoccupations on nine collectively-penned compositions.
Magnusson describes his latest project, Kinfolk (with Tim Neal on Hammond organ, Dave Beck on drums and Frank DiSario on bass), as ‘kind of rootsy’, reflecting the fact that he grew up playing the blues. ‘It’s not like I’m trying to start a blues band, but I love the colours of those sorts of grooves,’ he adds.
So by the time he turned 20 his palm was etched with a future as both player and composer, as jazz artist and classical. This puts Isaacs in a very select company – Don Banks, Bruce Cale, Phil Treloar, Mike Nock and Paul Grabowksy come to mind – of Australian artists whose work has been taken seriously in both idioms, and he sees the twin careers as being mutually beneficial.
what a brilliant idea it was to invite Jones to join the list of distinguished guest artists to record with students at Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music. What insights for those with the wit and empathy to understand that what was on the table was not a master-class in music or singing or anything so mundane. No this was much more important: a master-class in artistry, which is to say a lesson in life.
The Wilfreds’ singing seems all the more urgent when it is riding atop a band that is in this state of what we might call restrained agitation. And it is this interplay that breeds that sense of mystery, where both parties are enriching the other’s tradition; when the Dreaming of the Yolngu people intermingles with Western flights of imagination; where any demarcation line between ritual and creativity is blown away in a sand-storm of sound.
Concepts aside, one of Grabowsky’s most significant contributions to creative music has been to popularise the pooling of players from different Australian states. Common enough in the 1960s, the practice had waned until Grabowsky did it with the Wizards of Oz, the band he co-formed with saxophonist Dale Barlow in 1986.
Just as the album’s title is both brooding and punning, so the music is in a constant flux of what, were it writing, we would call ‘tone’. Grabowsky can seem to create a pastiche of an idiom out of which a deep truth will grow in the improvising, while a more solemn-sounding piece will spawn sly asides and dramatic jolts from the players, or perhaps contain an unexpectedly curdled harmony.