Elysian Fields is a seamless combination of old and new, composed and improvised, experimental and planned, intuitive and calculated. The result is like a thick winter blanket: warm and beautiful.
Gregg Arthur looks like he’s auditioning for a James Bond film – both for the leading role and the theme song.
While Frank Gambale regularly unleashed a dazzling torrent of notes, the quality that lingered in my mind after the show was the melodic instinct that underpinned so much of his work.
Denson and James sign five of the album’s twelve songs, all works of exemplary craftmanship that deserve a place in the Australian Jazz canon (if there is such a thing). My personal favourites are the upbeat ‘Wild December Wind’ and the introspective ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ (I’m a sucker for 3/4 tunes); both perfect vehicles for Ingrid James to showcase her ability to convey real, almost tangible, emotions. You can feel her voice embracing and caressing you.
“Kate Pass’ compositions and musical palette are far from mere exotica – in fact, the conversational mix of Western and Middle-Eastern music could not be more timely, with the current world schisms and tensions between the two cultures. To hear these voices side-by-side, talking and twining together is an almost political call for hope – one where neither side sees the other as ‘the other’.”
On ‘Any Last Requests’, Mark Lockett’s trio span well-loved standards, as well as hardcore jazz tunes – all with the variety, dexterity and telepathy that only a group forged in the NYC fire can. Each of the three brings everything necessary for three to become one, in aspiration and in execution.
It was sheer joy watching her and the entire ensemble throughout the night clearly having so much fun on stage.
Willie ‘The Lion’ McIntyre had a big stage personality. An accountant by day, he was a roaring entertainer at night, his big cheerful personality, loud singing and bold thumping piano a magnet for audiences.
The Bowie Project is not a tribute – it’s a thesis; it’s a product of research and analysis. Rudegeair dived deep in the Bowie universe, took the songs, stripped them down to the bare essentials, analysed their components and took each element and presented it under new light.
I’ve always thought thatPhillip Johnston’sapproach to jazz has a kind of cartoonish quality to it. His playing is sneaking up on you, surprising you and exploding like a cartoon dynamite. Other times, it’s like these pistols who, when fired, shoot out a flag that unfolds and writes ‘Bang!’