14 March 2013
New jazz releases: Spence, Hannaford, Tawadros, Noordhuis, Sirens BB, Trichotomy
It feels like every week a new album hits my desk. It's a fertile time for recording at the moment, and in this first of our jazz updates that feature recent CD releases, we've selected just a handful of what's on offer in the Australian jazz scene.
Joseph Tawadros - Chameleons of the White Shadow
Jazz and the oud. Who knew. Well, Joseph Tawadros has been doing it beautifully for years. This latest release also throws banjo into the mix, with the wonderful Bela Fleck. Joseph Tawadros - as always - brings formidable talent and a commitment to his own musical journey. The CD features the percussive skills of James Tawadros, and Americans Joey DeFrancesco, Roy Ayers and Howard Johnson: organist, vibraphonist and tuba player, respectively. Rich in texture and lyricism, this is a CD that's garnering some great reviews. More information on Joseph Tawadros's website.
Marc Hannaford - Faceless Dullard
Describing the collaboration from which this release arises, Marc Hannaford says it builds on an aesthetic 'taken from the ancestors of Australian jazz and improvised music'. He maintains that 'This is how cultures develop a strong sense of community and identity; by turning towards their own past for inspiration'. The release features Hannaford (piano) alongside two of this country's master improvisers Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and Simon Barker (drums). What makes this a particularly significant release is the way it draws on the mentor-mentee relationship between the three musicians, in a moment of improvising. 'No edits. No second takes.' More information on Hannaford's website.
Sirens Big Band - Kali and the time of change
The Sirens is an all-female band from Sydney, with a music style that co-leader Jess Dunn describes as 'a very unique sound - jazz meets South Indian, West African, Ethiopian, Latin American and reggae music... very groove-based and great to dance to!' This is the debut album of the band, and they have had the sage guidance and support of their own 'Jazz Mumma', saxophonist, composer and teacher Sandy Evans. Many of the Sirens Big Band members have benefited from the Young Women's Jazz Workshops behind which Sandy is a driving force. More information (Sirens website).
Trichotomy - Fact Finding Mission
Fact Finding Mission is another recent jazz release receiving favourable reviews. The long-running trio of Sean Foran (keys), John Parker (drums) and Pat Marchisella (bass) has invited guests to a number of tracks on their latest CD, namely guitarist James Muller, percussionist Tunji Beier and bass clarinettist Linsey Pollak. This tight trio welcomes influences from classical to Indian folk and have created a release that includes the jaggedly abstract and swinging rhythm. Trichotomy's love of improvisation and years of playing together create a collection of highly listenable, captivating tunes, with layered diversity. More information (Trichotomy website).
Nadje Noordhuis - Nadje Noorhuis
A finalist in the 2010 National Jazz Awards and a semi-finalist in the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, trumpeter Nadje Noorhuis released her debut album in New York recently. She studied and worked as a sound engineer early in her career and perhaps that is what led her to arrange for the CD, engineered by Jan Erik Kongshaug (those familiar with the ECM catalogue will know his work). Nadje is strongly attracted to melody in her writing and playing, and her album brings this aspect of the trumpet to life, creating a lyrical debut that may open your ears to some new (transporting) ways to interpret the idea of jazz trumpet. More information (bandcamp - Noordhuis).
Alister Spence Trio - Far Flung
Alister Spence has confessed on more than one occasion that he is drawn to soundscape in his musical practice, and his recent trio CDs have reflected that. Far Flung moves the Alister Spence Trio - at least partially - back into the realm of more composed pieces. The trio - Alister Spence (piano), Lloyd Swanton (bass) and Toby Hall (drums and glockenspiel) - are all adept, active listeners. See them performing and it's clearly a core aspect of their playing in this trio. They have been working together for around thirty years - they were all members of Clarion Fracture Zone - and together in this trio for fifteen years. Infused in the jazz tradition, and intrepid explorers of other music in their work outside the trio, Alister, Lloyd and Toby have created a CD with a distinctive 'voice' that draws on the imaginations, skill, experience and friendship of these three. More information (Alister Spence's website).
© Australian Music Centre (2013) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Miriam Zolin is the publisher and editor at extempore and australianjazz.net. She has enjoyed listening to a broad spectrum of jazz and improvised music for a number of years. As well as regular writing about Australian musicians and their music, Miriam has recently contributed to PenTales, Griffith Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Book Review and The Sleepers Almanac.
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