The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - John McBeath

The Thou­sands Phil Slater Quar­tet Kim­nara Records TH­ESE four play­ers, some of the best in the coun­try, know each other’s work well. The leader, Syd­ney trum­peter Phil Slater, wrote all seven tracks, at least a cou­ple of which have been pre­vi­ously recorded. But th­ese are more elon­gated ver­sions, with am­ple time for ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially Slater’s long- term sim­patico pi­anist, Matt McMa­hon, to thor­oughly ex­plore. Bur­den of Cor­ners runs for more than 10 min­utes, mov­ing through var­i­ous tem­pos and moods from plain­tive and mys­ti­cal to su­per­heated swing­ing. With Lloyd Swan­ton’s dou­ble bass and drum­mer Si­mon Barker sub­stan­tially un­der­pin­ning them, pi­ano and trum­pet are free to me­an­der or stoke ex­cite­ment to a deliri­ous level, as they do in the cli­max to Te­dium . Slater’s soft brass tonal­ity in slower pas­sages in­tro­duces a mag­i­cal at­mos­phere, while else­where when bass and drums lay down an in­eluctable beat, the trum­pet flies high over­head, puls­ing, flut­ter­ing and de­claim­ing. McMa­hon’s pi­ano is never less than su­perbly com­ple­men­tary, build­ing up the melody’s har­monies, us­ing tremolo and rip­pling chords and solo­ing with great in­ven­tion and rap­port.

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