Jazz

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

Stretch Brendan Clarke In­de­pen­dent

CON­SID­ER­ING Syd­ney-based Brendan Clarke’s his­tory of more than 15 years as a fore­most bassist on the Aus­tralian jazz scene, ap­pear­ing on over 40 al­bums, it’s a sur­prise that this is his de­but re­lease as a leader. Clarke grad­u­ated in Jazz Stud­ies at the ANU Can­berra in 1996 and that same year played at the Mon­terey Jazz Fes­ti­val in Cal­i­for­nia. Since then he’s played with such lu­mi­nar­ies as Chris Pot­ter, Maria Sch­nei­der, Dale Bar­low, Roger Manins, Warwick Alder, Sandy Evans, Bernie McGann and many oth­ers. He has stud­ied in New York, toured Ja­pan, China, and Europe, played in Nor­way with the Jaz­zgroove Mother­ship Orches­tra in which he’s been a long-term mem­ber.

This new al­bum fea­tures Clarke’s sublime sense of swing head­ing a quar­tet with Dave Jack­son on alto, Carl De­whurst on gui­tar and drum­mer Andrew Gan­der. An al­bum stand­out is the su­perb pair­ing of the acous­tic bass with De­whurst’s re­cip­ro­cal gui­tar in rhyth­mi­cal pat­terns, no­tice­able im­me­di­ately on the opener

Busline. There are three stan­dards in the collection: one, Lazy Af­ter­noon, ded­i­cated to the late jazz vo­cal­ist Joe Lane, be­gins with Clarke’s re­laxed melodic state­ment, and moves into De­whurst’s serene gui­tar solo. An­other stan­dard I’m get­ting Sen­ti­men­tal

Over You also opens in a bass lead with soft gui­tar chords as Clarke moves into solo mode while main­tain­ing his fine sense of pulse. There are echoes of Can­non­ball Ad­der­ley in Jack­son’s up­tempo alto on Clarke’s orig­i­nal Ride, and Gan­der’s drum­ming is show­cased.

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