Jazz

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

Hu­man Mu­sic In­de­pen­dent ATM15 is a 15-piece Mel­bourne big band that in­cludes its di­rec­tor and com­poser An­drew Mur­ray. The col­lec­tion of eight Mur­ray orig­i­nals is mas­ter­fully ar­ranged and well recorded — no small achieve­ment when 14 in­stru­ments are in­volved — at Al­lan Ea­ton Stu­dio in St Kilda.

Mur­ray’s ar­range­ments make ef­fi­cient use of his soloists and the large en­sem­ble, some­times in an over­lay­ing for­mat. Lis­ten to This pushes the tempo along, cour­tesy of strong work from drum­mer Hugh Har­vey, es­pe­cially in a lengthy open­ing solo and in ex­changes with the band; rac­ing so­los are also pro­vided by Ron Romero’s tenor sax and Dar­rin Archer on keys.

At the slow end of the tempo scale, Karma fea­tures har­monic com­plex­i­ties in the full band voic­ings, while Derby Jump does what the ti­tle sug­gests, show­cas­ing a se­quence of swing­ing tenor ex­changes be­tween Romero and Stephen Blyth. The full band jumps with Basie-like in­ten­sity. Dig spreads an in­vig­o­rat­ing slower sound­scape with swing-era echoes us­ing drum as­sis­tance and in­cludes a shout-it-out trom­bone solo from Alis­tair Parsons. Fur­ther in­ven­tive ar­rang­ing opens Early Days to in­tro­duce Tim Wil­son’s spir­ited alto sax solo and fine, over­rid­ing trum­pet work from Cal­lum G’Froerer.

Mur­ray is to be com­pli­mented on the huge task of form­ing this im­pres­sive big band, con­tain­ing sev­eral out­stand­ing soloists, and for writ­ing and skil­fully ar­rang­ing these im­pres­sive com­po­si­tions while avoid­ing mu­si­cal cliche.

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