Tam O’Shanter Tales

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

Green­ing from Ear to Ear


SYD­NEY’S out­stand­ing brass in­stru­men­tal­ist (mostly trom­bone) James Green­ing has led and ap­peared in many im­por­tant Aus­tralian jazz groups. This new septet al­bum, fea­tur­ing an all­star line-up of Syd­ney play­ers, is so named be­cause Green­ing com­posed these works in the in­spir­ing land­scape of Tas­ma­nia’s Bass Strait coastal com­mu­nity, Tam O’Shanter. The collection jumps into a lively opener, Par­al­lel

Lines, es­tab­lished by Hamish Stu­art’s sprightly drums and aided by per­cus­sion­ist Fabian He­via, and Green­ing takes off on an en­er­getic trom­bone solo, fol­lowed by Andrew Rob­son’s free-run­ning alto stok­ing ex­cite­ment against the group’s en­er­getic back­drop. Green­ing brings off an im­prob­a­ble sousa­phone solo on a bluesy New Or­leans stom­per, Lumpy, while Paul Cut­lan adds tonal al­ter­na­tives and fast flight on bass clar­inet be­fore the tempo dou­bles for Gary Da­ley’s swing­ing piano solo. Af­ter Brett Hirst’s bass line opens Hazara, the leader’s pocket trum­pet is pushed to high reg­is­ter over a Mid­dle East­ern rhythm, joined by sym­pa­thetic ac­cor­dion and a wildly ex­plo­rative bass clar­inet. Mood and tempo are re­laxed for the lyri­cal el­e­gance of Sleep­ing Beauty, in­tro­duced by dreamy ac­cor­dion. It’s back to a trom­bone lead for an­other New Or­leans bluesy style in Early

Morn­ing. These com­po­si­tions, finely ar­ranged by Green­ing, as with his so­los, all en­com­pass strong swing­ing beats, and the skil­ful en­sem­ble voic­ings of­ten sound like a larger band.

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