THE publicity for Sydney trumpeter Andy Fiddes’s quartet album claims it puts the rock back into jazz, but purists will find much to enjoy. The rock influences are confined to the raw, live energy from the 1970s pub rock era rather than musical references. Drummer Evan Mannell replaces the monotony of a relentless rock backbeat with sophisticated, complementary percussion, ably supported by Mike Majkowski’s strong bass lines. Award- winning pianist Jackson Harrison is perhaps under- used, or under- recorded, in mostly matrix style backings behind trumpet and drums; it’s not until track three that we hear a keyboard solo, albeit a somewhat murky one. Fiddes’s trumpet stands out in commanding mode on Joystring or meandering in a mellow Struck from Above. On Return of the Darkness the trumpet swings forcefully and there is a substantial and pleasing keyboard solo. Fiddes’s varied compositions are well interpreted by his tightly integrated group, with the spotlight on the leader’s continuously inventive trumpet.
John McBeath Livewire Andy Fiddes Jazzgroove/ Creative Vibes