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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - John McBeath

MELBOURNE drum­mer and band leader Al­lan Browne has set his quin­tet a chal­leng­ing, lit­er­a­ture- based mu­si­cal task for their sec­ond album. The work, com­posed by trum­peter Eu­gene Ball and gui­tarist Ge­off Hughes, is an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of 19th- cen­tury French poet Arthur Rim­baud’s Le bateau ivre ( The Drunken Boat). In five suites, the mu­sic por­trays Rim­baud’s hal­lu­ci­na­tory story of an un­manned, hu­man­ised Euro­pean boat drift­ing down Amer­i­can rivers through storms and pre­his­toric images amid dis­in­te­gra­tion and nos­tal­gia, fu­elled by a cargo of ab­sinthe. Fi­nally the boat be­comes a worth­less, wa­ter­logged plank. This high- qual­ity mu­sic can be en­joyed with­out ref­er­ence to Rim­baud, but it’s re­ward­ing to lis­ten to the in­ter­pre­ta­tions of ti­tles such as Lost in the Fu­ri­ous Lash­ing of Tides , Danc­ing, Lighter Than a Cork or My Wa­ter Drunk Car­cass . The com­po­si­tions vary in style and at­mos­phere, from post- bop themes to bal­lads and am­bi­ent ef­fects, all driven by Browne’s im­pec­ca­ble drum­ming. There are im­pres­sive so­los too from Ball, Hughes and al­toist David Rex in this mem­o­rable col­lec­tion.

The Drunken Boat Al­lan Browne Jaz­zhead

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