“There’s a focus with jazz drummers that when they’re experimenting with new ideas it has to be able to work in a standard song-form context. That’s something I’ve thought about a lot and felt that I was willing to let go, and see if it can just be music for itself.”
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.
‘…cued by Komunyakaa’s use of multiple voices, Evans assembled discrete bands for each piece, including no less than 11 different lead singers, plus Michael Edwards-Stevens reading some poems as spoken word with musical accompaniment.’
‘…cross-cultural mash-up worked beautifully across the entire suite – a testimony to Robertson’s smart writing, deep research and even deeper emotional connection to the music.’
In the lead-up to Baecastuff’s performance of Mutiny Music on January 29 2104 at Sydney’s 505, John Hardaker asked Rick a few questions about this remarkable suite of music.
This is the musical equivalent of slow food, and will amply repay the patient. Eleven years on and this Melbourne/Sydney collective restores itself to its rightful place near the pinnacle of Australian jazz.
My brother, Carl Mackey, a sensational saxophonist, and I, grew up listening to the sounds of jazz. When everybody else was listening to Molly Meldrum’s Countdown in the 1970’s we were listening to John Coltrane’s ‘Countdown’. My father gave me John Coltrane’s 1957 album, ‘Rise and Shine’, aged 8, and this transformed my life…
These magical buoyancies rise from a persistent, intricate conversation of remarkable cohesion and purpose. Propositions are advanced and tested, sometimes at the same dynamic level, sometimes breaking into sensational bursts of energy. And for long stretches it all moves beyond conversation as if three lines of counterpoint are being written simultaneously by a single composer.
Exhilaration does not fade for those who are listening rather than assuming. It builds as the bricks seem to be stacked more rapidly to form more complex percussive patterns. Or are thrown one by one through the air.
‘Michael is a kind of visual jazz artist. He doesn’t like to be scripted; in fact he’s a bit of a daredevil. As much as you’d like to plan, Michael would rather walk a tightrope. We offer the scaffolding in that there’s a set list and there are opportunities for improvisation, where we veer away from song form and build a different type of picture.’