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

This col­lec­tion, sub­ti­tled High Energy Jazz from the Syd­ney Un­der­ground, is cer­tainly high energy, but it’s hard to es­cape the con­clu­sion that there’s a heavy com­po­nent here of tonguein-cheek. The mu­si­cians, led by sax­o­phon­ist Michael Gor­don, are of a high stan­dard, but these orig­i­nals sound mostly like a weird com­bi­na­tion of crazy post-bop and mu­si­cal send-up. Think Spike Jones goes be­bop or the post-bop cir­cus comes to town. Gor­don’s tenor sax is aided in the front line by Ken Al­lars’s trum­pet. The Cat’s Py­ja­mas is a good ex­am­ple of the genre, where solo tenor opens with a six- note riff end­lessly re­peated as Finn Ryan’s drums and Tom Wade’s acous­tic bass start up, while the trum­pet throws in a stab­bing note at the be­gin­ning of each bar. Ev­ery­thing falls silent as the tenor em­barks on a solo rem­i­nis­cent of a bur­lesque in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Al­bert Ayler meets Eric Dol­phy. Trum­pet then de­liv­ers a wildly im­pro­vised se­quence that can only be de­scribed as jar­ring mu­si­cal hu­mour, al­beit clev­erly ex­e­cuted. The opener, Big Job, is a prepa­ra­tion for what’s to come, with bop riffs end­lessly re­peated; even the drum solo man­ages a heavy stick send-up of var­i­ous jazz drum­ming styles. Chumba Chumba be­gins with a lu­di­crous a cap­pella vo­cal se­quence, com­plete with hys­ter­i­cal laugh­ter. It’s only in the fi­nal track, a bal­lad ti­tled Comedown, that car­i­ca­ture is aban­doned. It’s dif­fi­cult to say to whom this al­bum, with its buf­foon­ery con­tent, will ap­peal. The best that can be said is that some skilled play­ers have put to­gether a clever send-up.

The Cook­ing Club The Cook­ing Club In­de­pen­dent

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