When Michael Griffin’s lips touch the mouthpiece, he’s transfomed: the awkward teenager gives his place to a jazz master of superb confidence – and his pinstripe suit becomes a perfect fit. It’s uncanny.
I don’t know how much distance there is between Carla Bley and Frank Zappa, but Cheryl Durongpisitkul covers it with ease. And, however helpful references and namedropping might be to describe a sound, it is mostly just noise. Because, the loudest, clearest, most assertive voice here, is that of Cheryl Durongpisitkul herself.
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.
Playing with the Vampires on this album has pulled some startling performances out of Loueke and, in kind, the band rise to his fire one catches oneself thinking they sound the best they ever have; then you realise the Vampires always sound this good.
I love guitar, it has the ability to convey an incredibly rich range of textures and sounds, and has a history of amazing players. However, when I choose collaborators, it is often based on the individual: Lionel Loueke and Kurt Rosenwinkel are both unique voices on their instruments, and aesthetically, I felt they were a great match for the respective projects I was working with.
Their music has a smooth feel, offering a downtempo version of soul jazz, often with a nod to bands like Earth, Wind and Fire. The rhythm section creates an elegant soundscape, a canvas for the playful interaction between the Turcio and Albare, who captured the audiences attention sending them off to a musical path sparked love and passion.
To listen to Daniel Susnjar’s ‘Moth To A Flame’ one would expect these eight densely arranged, complex and exceptionally recorded pieces to have taken a year or two to get to this level. In fact, the album was done and dusted (bar a little extra later dusting in WA and Miami) in 24 short hours.