Joseph Tawadros, yeahyeahabsolutelynoway and Paul Grabowsky plus Martin Taylor live in Australian Jazz Round Up

It was another busy month here in Oz, with more great releases to savour. The diversity of Australian jazz is very evident here, from twin guitars, the oud and a piano-led sextet, all deserving of a listen. Also this month we were graced with the presence of Martin Taylor performing in an intimate setting.

– Michael Prescott, Jazz Presenter 5MBS, Australia

 

Joseph-TawadrosJoseph Tawadros

Permission To Evaporate             ABC Music / Universal            ★★★★

Joseph Tawadros (oud), Christian McBride (b), Mike Stern (el g), Matt McMahon (p), James Tawadros (p). Rec 14 &16 February 2014

Joseph Tawadros arrived in Australia from his native Egypt in 1986 at the age of 3. Born into a musical family, he was destined to become a musician and he is now a master of the oud. The oud in jazz is not new, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Dhafer Youssef and Anouar Brahem to name but a few have utilised the instrument in a jazz setting. Nor is Tawadros new to playing with the best jazz musicians, his previous albums have featured John Abercrombie, Jack DeJohnette, John Patatucci, Bela Fleck, Joey De Francesco and others. This album is set against a background of grief, Tawadros having lost both his parents in the last few years. He has channelled these emotions in a search for more innovation in his music and this album represents a step forward in that quest. The influence of Fleck and bluegrass is readily apparent from the opener “Bluegrass Nikriz” but more than this is the sheer virtuosity that hits you from the opening blast. It is this that distances Tawadros from other jazz inclined oud players, he a constant source of invention and melody, without losing the instruments unique character. As expected from a bassist with the class of McBride, he is immaculate throughout, whilst Stern, although not appearing on every track, adds a complete tonal contrast. By utilising the considerable percussive skills of his brother James instead of a standard drum kit, the overall feel of the album has a world music colour but there is no mistaking the fact that this a jazz album, and a damn fine one to boot.

Click here for more info            

 

rattle-jazzyeahyeahabsolutelynoway

Um...            Rattle Jazz            ★★★

James Brown (g), Sam Cagney (g), Stephen Neville (d). Rec. Dates 30 September to 3 October 2013

This album represents the first foray by wonderful New Zealand label Rattle Jazz into Australia. In many ways this is a brave choice, two young electric guitarists and drums with no bass. Despite the limitations of the format, these young guns manage to pull it off with smart compositions and full on attack. Make no mistake this is a guitar album, there is simply no letting up over the whole 59 minutes from the twin guitar front line. It is evident that the band has its roots in rock but its feet firmly planted in jazz. The resulting noise, whilst harking back to the good old days of fusion, goes to another place altogether. The album kicks off with some very attractive tunes, “Howl” and “Why Sleep?” before launching into a more experimental mode with “Ouff” and “A Perfect Day For Bananafish”. The pace is slowed with the bluesy “Shetland Dream 1863” and “Look At You”. The CD closes with some fine funk with “Down Home”. Throughout Cagney and Brown swap roles constantly, from rhythm to lead and back enabling both to solo on the same tune. Both guitarists are inventive and behind them is the reliable and sympathetic‎ drumming of Stephen Neville, who provides a solid foundation for the guitarists. An audacious, but largely successful, debut from a young and interestingly named band.

Click here for more info

 

Peter-Grabowsky-SextetPaul Grabowsky

The Bitter Suite             ABC Music / Universal            ★★★

Paul Grabowsky (p), Jamie Oehlers (ts), Andrew Robson (as, ss), James Greening (t) Cameron Undy (b) Simon Barker (d). Rec date not stated

Grabowsky has been at the forefront of the Australian jazz scene for many years, with an occasional jaunt to the Big Apple. A man of many talents, In addition to his various groups he has found time to score films and TV plus direct various Festivals. Normally at home in a trio setting here he expands the palette by adding an impressive front line in a return to a format he has not utilised since the 1990’s. Grabowsky composed the 9 originals and arranged Scriabin’s Piano Prelude op 74 no 4, all in the space of a few weeks. He then assembled a powerful group to perform his new works. Oehlers and Robson are formidable soloists and the addition of Greening gives the sound a fuller texture and a sense of fun. The album kicks off in grand style with a reggae infused “Paradise” and continues to offer tasty treats all the way through, with the exception of ‘Sisyphus”, which to these ears falls flat and dirges its way for 10 long minutes. That said, the remainder is all class with excellent solos from the leader ably supported by his front line. Grabowsky again shows why he is at the forefront of Australian jazz.

Click here for more info          

 

LIVE

Martin Taylor

The Gov, Adelaide

martin-taylor-live-picThe Gov is a small pub, one of a few brave venues still promoting live music of all genres, including jazz. This was Taylor’s second gig at this intimate venue and a welcome return. The show kicked off with a display of guitar virtuosity from support Mathew Fagan, covering a truly alarming range of styles and concluding with a fabulous demonstration on how to take the novelty out of the ukulele. As soon as Taylor commenced his set it was apparent that here is a master. From the opening “Old Fashioned” his fretwork was clean, his choice of notes judicious and the use of space sublime. This was followed by a Jamaican influenced piece so authentic you could almost hear the steel pans! Not content to play a bundle of standards, Taylor showcased his virtuosity, firstly straight ahead jazz with “Someday My Prince Will Come”, a demonstration of “stride guitar” with “I Got Rhythm”, a touch of Celtic, “One Day” and a song he performs with Tommy Emmanuel which he also performed for inmates of Fulsom Prison, “True”. Taylor happily informed his audience that so impressed were some guitar players amongst the inmates that they have taken it upon themselves to learn the piece as a guitar choir. Interspersed with these Taylor rattled off songs with sheer class and style, leaving a small but very satisfied audience.

 

Neil Cowley Trio – Touch and Flee ★★★★

Naim naimcd206
Neil Cowley (p, kys), Rex Horan (b) and Evan Jenkins (d).
Rec. date not stated

As with another widely admired piano trio, The Necks, Neil Cowley Trio tends to get coverage in the jazz media while remaining the eternal outsiders. On their previous 2012 CD The Face of Mount Molehill, the leader, pianist and composer successfully – artistically as well as in terms of widening their audience – expanded the sound canvas to include strings for the first time.

On Touch and Flee the pianist-composer has returned to the core of the acoustic trio but continues to open up the sound to a widescreen concert hall aesthetic aligned to contemporary rock and hip hop-derived production values courtesy of the rock engineer Dom Marks, his contribution a more central one than on previous CDs. Those who enjoyed the instant ear-worm melodies, slamming pub rock piano, swelling dynamics, and quirky Charlie Brown-ish jazz of previous albums, will have to be far more patient with Touch and Flee. Those ingredients are still in the mix, but expressed implicitly rather than in-your-face.

But rewards come to those who wait. Balanced between a classical melancholic elegance and a hypnotic postrock ambience, Touch and Flee is closer in its aesthetic to ECM trios such as ‘zen’ funkers Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin. It’s a recording of hidden depths and on-the-pulse sonic values that signals a bright new chapter in the Neil Cowley Trio story.

– Selwyn Harris

 

Sam Anning, Tam O'Shanter and Sam Bates in Australian jazz CD round-up

With winter not far away, Australia kicks into festival mode. The Melbourne Jazz Festival kicks off on May 30 with a great line-up including Chick Corea in duo with Gary Burton and Charles Lloyd. At the same time there are festivals in Perth and Brisbane, plus several other smaller events. Whilst the international stars put bums on seats is the quality of the Australian performers that stands out and make these festivals. Also the flow of great new albums continues unabated and to prove the point, here’s three of the best.

– Michael Prescott,Jazz Presenter 5MBS, Australia

Sam-Anning-frontSam Anning Trio

Sweethearts            listenhear collective            ★★★

Sam Anning (b), Julien Wilson (ts, ss, cl, bcl), Allan Browne (d). Rec 24 November 2012

A reed led trio can be a daunting challenge over the course of a full length album, but happily the reverse is true here. This is an album full of sublime playing, gorgeous sounds and great arrangements. To compliment Anning’s luscious bass on this, his second album, he is joined by veteran master drummer Browne and the sensuous reeds of Wilson. This is understated playing, there are no brash solos or over the top performances, restraint is the key here and its works so well. Anning has selected a mix of originals, including the funky and intriguingly titled ”Princess Doug Of Fitzroy” together with some less known standards, for example, incisive treatments of Billy Strayhorn’s “Little Brown Book” and Ellington’s “Creole Rhapsody”. Wilson is the complete musician, the use of multi reeds gives the album a more varied feel no more evident than on the track that bookends the album. On the opening take of Anning’s “Cactus Flower” Wilson is on tenor but in the closing version, he displays his talents on bass clarinet. If there is a criticism, it’s that Browne is often back in the mix and on occasions his subtle percussive effects hard to discern, particularly on Wilson’s clarinet led “Farewell”. Nonetheless, this is a fine album from three excellent players.

Click here for more info

tom-shanterGreening From Ear To Ear

Tam O'Shanter Tales            self release ★★★

 

 

James Greening (tb, sousaphone, pocket t), Andrew Robson (as, bs), Paul Cutlan (ts cl), Fabian Hevia (p), Gary Daley (Acc, p), Hamish Stuart (d), Brett Hirst (b). Rec. Date 29 June 2013

In case you’re wondering, the relationship between this album and the Scottish headwear of the title is a beach. There is, however, absolutely nothing Scottish about trombonist James Greenings latest vibrant collection, recorded live at Sydney’s Sound Lounge. The set kicks off with harmonics from Brett Hirst’s bass before launching into a spirited vibe and a scorching solo from Andy Robson. Such is the exuberance of this recording that it sounds as if every member of this largish ensemble is having an absolute ball and this joy is palpable throughout. This no doubt explains the album’s title. The following track, “Lumpy” is an aptly titled forum for the big instruments to get right down and dirty, Greening on a 14kg sousaphone, Cutlan on bass clarinet and Robson on baritone and what fun they have! “Hazara” is dedicated to the Hazara people and has a world music feel, accentuated by Daley’s accordion and Greenings considerable skill on the pocket trumpet. The closer, “Early Moring” is a slow blues pean to hope and features a stunning Robson alto solo and concludes with leader’s mournful trombone. Greening again proves that he is a composer and trombonist of some considerable stature and this CD cements his position at the top of Australian jazz. And the beach? Greening penned the tunes whilst on Tam O'Shanter Beach, located on Tasmania’s north coast.

Click here for more info           

sam-batesSam Bates

Backblocks            Newmarket 3334.2  ★★★

 

 

Sam Bates (d), Marc Hannaford (p), Philip Rex (b). Rec 11 July 2013

The piano trio is one of the most common groupings in jazz and many greats have explored the format; Bill Evans, Oscar Petersen, Keith Jarrett, a seemingly endless list. Making a lasting impression is difficult, but even more so when you’re trying to achieve this from the drum stool. This is the task that Sam Bates set himself in recording this CD. To a surprising extent he succeeded and he achieved this by writing a collection of very memorable and strong tunes plus having the courage avoid the crutch of covering standards. As a result this album is a cohesive whole, one that not only withstands repeated playing, but demands it. Bates choice of Marc Hannaford to give life to his songs was inspired. Hannaford is not a fast or flashy pianist but he is able to give real prominence to the themes and then honour them with quality and imaginative improvisations. The memorable opener, “He Who Laughs” is followed by the short “Rat Escape”, featuring a very strange rhythmic pattern, perfectly underpinning a melody so good it’s difficult to get out of your head. Similar comments can be made for all of the albums seven tracks. Bates proves that he is not only an imaginative drummer, but more than that, a composer of real class.

Click here for more info           

 

Nat Birchall Quintet – Live In Larissa ★★★★

Sound Soul And Spirit NB003 2LP Set – Nat Birchall (ts, ss, bells, shaker, tambourine), Adam Fairhall (p), Corey Mwamba (vibes, bells), Nick Blacka (b) and Paul Hession (d). Rec. 11-12 May 2013

For anyone who still believes in the transformative and inherently spiritual nature of jazz, most forcefully proposed by John Coltrane in the mid-1960s, there’s something enormously admirable about the path UK saxophonist Nat Birchall has dedicated himself to. Even the fact that his latest release is only available on heavyweight double vinyl (plus download option) ticks a few boxes. Birchall really means it. This sixth album – his first live release, recorded over two nights in the Duende Jazz Bar in Larissa, Greece – feels like his most sincere offering yet, with extended meditations on the two primary moods his compositions most commonly touch upon: pieces like ‘Divine Harmony’ are sensitive, free-shimmering tone poems with rolling, sighing percussion; while numbers such as ‘Return to Ithaca’ burrow into smouldering modal grooves that give pianist Adam Fairhall the chance to exercise his most strident and grandiloquent McCoy Tyner-isms. Actually, the whole ensemble of northern English allstars exudes a sense of exquisitely absorbed concentration, fully immersing themselves in long, searching solos. The album’s two longest cuts are both deep-jazz standards: a side-long vamp on Bill Lee’s ‘John Coltrane; and an impressively deep reading of Alice Coltrane’s ‘Journey In Satchidananda.’ There aren’t many contemporary artists operating today who could get away with it. Birchall is undoubtedly one of them.

– Daniel Spicer

 

Jazzwise May 2014 Issue Album Reviews List

 

All these albums are reviewed in the MAY 2014 issue of Jazzwise which is out now – to read them all click here to subscribe and get a FANTASTIC FREE CD

New Releases

Ambrose Akinmusire The Imagined Savior is Far Easier To Paint Blue Note

Julian Argüelles Circularity CAMJazz

Paul Bley Play Blue – Live in Oslo ECM

Billy Bottle & The Multiple Unrecorded Beam Leo

Kris Bowers Heroes + Misfits Concord Jazz

Pete Brown and Phil Ryan with Psoulchedelia Perils Of Wisdom Interoceter Records

Chloe Charles Break The Balance www.chloecharles.com

Wayne Escoffery Quintet Live at Firehouse 12 Sunnyside

Elliot Galvin Trio Dreamland Chaos Collective

Louise Gibbs and The Septet 7 Deadly Sings 33Xtreme

Tom Guarna Rush Brooklyn Jazz Underground

Taylor Haskins Fuzzy Logic Sunnyside

Alexander Hawkins Ensemble Step Wide, Step Deep Babel

Tim Hegarty Tribute Miles High Records

Jon Irabagon/Mark Helias/Barry Altschul It Takes All Kinds Jazzwerkstatt/Irabbagast

Josh Kemp Tone Poetry Fulltone Music

Roan Kearsey-Lawson Presence in Mind 144 Records

Takuya Kuroda Rising Son Blue Note

Dominic Lash Quartet Opabinia Babel

John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension The Boston Record Abstract Logix

Led Bib The People In Your Neighbourhood Cuneiform

Mike Longo Step on It Consolidated Artists

Marc Mac presents Visioneers Hipology BBE Records

Machine Mass featuring Dave Liebman INTI Moonjune

Raymond MacDonald and Marilyn Crispell Parallel Moments Babel

Made To Break Cherchez La Femme Trost

Harvey Mason Chameleon Concord

Andrea Motis and Joan Chamorro Quintet featuring Scott Hamilton Live at Jamboree Barcelona SWIT

Plymouth Plymouth Rare Noise Records

Shez Raja Collective Soho Live 33 Records

Kala Ramnath & Ty Burhoe Samay Chakra Tala Records

Alfredo Rodriguez The Invasion Parade Mack Avenue

Matt Slocum Black Elk’s Dream Chandra Records

Omar Sosa Senses Ota

Marius Neset & Trondheim Jazz Orchestra Lion ACT

Sunn O))) & Ulver Terrestrials Southern Lord SUNN

Warren Vache / Alan Barnes The Cobbler’s Waltz Woodville

Christian Vuust Urban Hymn Aero Music

Tim Warfield Inspire Me! Herb Harris Music

Frank Wess Magic 201 IOP  

Dhafer Youssef Birds Requiem OKeh

Sandro Zerafa The Bigger Picture


Short Cuts// New Releases

Diego Barber + Craig Taborn Tales Sunnyside

Steve Cardenas Melody in a Dream Sunnyside

Susan Clynes Life is… Moonjune

Gabrielle Ducomble Notes from Paris

Sławek Dudar Quartet Inside City Luna Music

Lisa Ferraro Serenading the Moon Pranavasonic Universal

Charlotte Hug Stefano Pastor Paragon D’archi Leo

Chris Ingham Quartet Hoagy Downhome

Nina Kristofferson Billie Holiday Story NK Records

Kavorka Culture Shock Bronx Bound Records

Resolution 88 Resolution 88 Synthethesia

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble Live Snakes Accurate Records

Samo Salamon & the Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra Orchestrology

The Bob Sands Quartet Out and About Steeplechase

The Souljazz Orchestra Inner Fire Strut

Dave Stryker Eight Track Strikezone

Aki Takase La Planete Flying Soul Intakt

 

Reissue Archive Reviews

Cannonball Adderley/ Bill Evans Legendary Quartet/ Quintet Sessions American Jazz Classics

Gato Barbieri The Third World BGP

Count Basie Afrique BGP

John Coltrane Out Of This World Proper

Digby Fairweather Digby Fairweather Archives: Chris Ellis Rose Cottage

Grant Green & Ike Quebec Complete Instrumental Sessions Essential Jazz Classics

Woody Herman Woody Herman’s Big New Herd At The Monterey Jazz Festival Atlantic

Abdullah Ibrahim African Piano ECM

Keith Jarrett Arbour Zena ECM

Keith Jarrett Ritual with Dennis Russell Davies ECM

Joachim Kühn 70th Birthday Edition: Trio Kühn Humair JennyClark/ Europeana ACT

Little Feat Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros years 1971-1990 Warner/Rhino

Lonnie Liston Smith Astral Travelling BGP


Brother Jack McDuff Quartet with Grant Green Goodnight, It’s Time To Go / The Honeydripper Groove Hut

Bud Powell Birdland 1953 ESP-Disk

Sam Rivers Contrasts ECM

Tom Scott Tom Scott & The L.A. Express/Tom Cat/New York Connection

Wayne Shorter Second Genesis/ Wayning Moments Essential Jazz Classics EJ

Jimmy Smith Quartet Back at the Chicken Shack/Midnight Special Essential Jazz Classics

Sonny Stitt & Brother Jack McDuff ’Nuther Futher/ Soul Shack Groove Hut

Ralph Towner/ John Abercrombie Five Years Later ECM

Miroslav Vitous Group ECM

Chick Webb/ Ella Fitzgerald Complete Decca Sessions (1934-1941) Mosaic

Ben Webster The Warm Moods + BBB & Co American Jazz Classics

Ben Webster Quartet Live In Hilversum 1970 Domino


Short Cuts// Reissues

Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt Boss Tenors in Orbit! / Soul Summit Fresh Sound

Howard McGhee Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out / House Warmin’ Fresh Sound

Red Mitchell / Harold Land Quintet Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Atlantic

Donald Byrd / Pepper Adams Motor City Scene Bethlehem / Verse

Betty Carter Round Midnight / Out There Solar

Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Orchestra Jazz Is Universal Atlantic

Nat King Cole / George Shearing Nat King Cole Sings / George Shearing Plays Jackpot

Jimmy Giuffre Three Classic Albums Plus (Second Set) Avid

Grant Green Goin’ West / Feelin’ The Spirit Masterjazz

Jazz Crusaders At The Lighthouse ’62 Fresh Sound

Volker Kriegel Lost Tapes Jazz Haus

Charlie Parker Complete Bird at the Apollo RLR

Pee Wee Russell New Groove / College Concert Solar |

Clark Terry / Bob Brookmeyer Quintet Complete Live Recordings, 1962-65 Fresh Sound

Clark Terry Four Classic Albums Avid

Bobby Troup The Songs of Bobby Troup Bethlehem / Verse

Stanley Turrentine with The Three Sounds Blue Hour – The Complete Sessions Essential Jazz Classics

Various Artists Jazz Britannia ’56 Harkit


Ben Webster In Norway Storyville

 

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