CD Review: Brendance – Warwick Alder (Rufus Records)

Brendance – Warwick Adler
Rufus Records, RF087, 2010
review by Brian Ormsby

On a cold winter’s day I settled back in a comfortable chair to listen to Brendance. Knowing the reputations of the musicians involved I was confident that I was in for a jazz treat – instead I experienced a feeling of disappointment. With the exception of a couple of tracks, notably ‘p.449’ with Adler’s soulful trumpet – for me his very best playing on this album – perfectly supported by Harkin’s subtly gentle piano and ‘Good Grief’. I made the mistake of looking out of my window at the bleak wintery night while ‘Good Grief’ was playing and was overwhelmed by the melancholy memories it invoked in me.

As for the other tracks, I had the feeling of having heard it all before. Not that these are poor quality, they are quite good, but a bit old hat. They don’t have that edginess, that improvisation that will bring young people in their droves to hear jazz live in clubs and concerts. I have no quarrel with the musicians – they are all up there with the best – but perhaps the constraints of the recording studio as opposed to live gigs removes much of the spontaneity that is the life blood of jazz. I will finish with a quote attributed to Booker Little, ‘My own feelings about the direction in which jazz should go are that there should be much less stress on technical exhibitionism and much more on emotional contact, on what might be termed humanity in music and the freedom to say all that you want’.

For more reviews of this and other Rufus CDs, go to the Rufus Records website