Resur­gence Grace Mu­sic/Planet

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

THIS lat­est al­bum from well-es­tab­lished Syd­ney group Resur­gence, led by es­teemed pi­anist Mark Isaacs, main­tains the same quin­tet per­son­nel as its 2011 record­ing, Aurora, with one ad­di­tion: vo­cal­ist Bri­ana Cowlishaw. Also con­tin­ued is the grow­ing reper­toire of Isaacs’s melodic com­po­si­tions, in­clud­ing lyrics for one song. The front­line of sax­o­phon­ist Matt Kee­gan and James Muller on gui­tar is as good as ever, and Tim Firth on drums with bassist Brett Hirst en­sure ritmo per­fecto. The mood is of­ten sub­dued, melan­choly and in­vari­ably sooth­ing, perk­ing up oc­ca­sion­ally, such as on a sprightly Gno­sis us­ing strong, driv­ing so­los from sax, gui­tar and pi­ano. The ethe­real vo­cal sounds of Cowlishaw add a fur­ther di­men­sion to three of the nine tracks, notably on You Never For­get Love, a ro­man­tic bal­lad reprised as the fi­nal num­ber. On

First Light the word­less vo­cals are scripted as an ad­di­tional in­stru­ment, ris­ing, hov­er­ing and soar­ing mys­ti­cally among the oth­ers. The ti­tle track,

Duende, also reprised, gives the pi­ano in­tro­spec­tive freedom to ru­mi­nate in a som­bre piece with an­guished, al­most clas­si­cal har­monies. The same ap­plies to The Beloved as it drifts dream­ily through Muller’s flow­ing gui­tar em­bel­lish­ments and the pi­ano’s em­broi­dery. New

Lives the long­est track at just un­der 10 min­utes, is more joy­ful, with a sparkling pi­ano and gui­tar bound­ing into the open­ing be­fore the sax ar­rives with the theme and then a solo ac­com­pa­nied by just drums. Through­out the col­lec­tion Isaacs’s ex­pert pi­ano sup­plies pleas­ing quan­ti­ties of variation and motile in­ter­est, spread­ing big chords and elab­o­rat­ing melod­i­cally, of­ten de­light­fully, on his al­ways en­gross­ing com­po­si­tions.

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