Innocent Dreamer Jamie Oehlers and Tal Cohen Assembler This combination of two Australian musicians, saxophonist Jamie Oehlers and pianist Tal Cohen, is well practised at performing together and the duo sound of tenor sax with piano is conversant and pleasantly relaxed. The 11 tracks are a mix of standards and four originals. Cedar Walton’s composition Fantasy in D floats dreamily as the saxophone leads over rippling piano, while there’s more rhythm, albeit at a slow tempo, injected into Body and Soul, where Oehlers’s tenor sax embellishes the theme effectively at the track’s beginning. The Duke Ellington standard Solitude is another piece especially suited to this gentle style and mood, and Oehlers interprets it impressively with flowing piano assistance. A second Ellington composition, Take the Coltrane, has a lively opening with fast sax and discordant piano. The tenor sax takes wing in the Bill Evans composition Very Early and Cohen’s piano provides an expert bridging solo. The Oehlers original Armistice has the introspective quality evident in most of these tracks, noticeable in the title track, another Oehlers original, where the sax soars and glides delicately, assisted by the piano’s treble arpeggios. Cohen’s Hachlata supplies a melody that steps up and down in surges. Some satisfying quick improvisation adorns the opening to My Ideal and pushes on via a stabbing piano sequence, as the sax reappears in ballad mode with fast intervening sequences. This is a fine album by two talented Australian musicians who work extremely well together. — from lower register in Pay Day to countertenor in If I Lose — and instrumental versatility scores elsewhere. Flemons’s quills (panpipes) embellish the 1920s songs Bulldoze Blues and Coalman Blues. His playing of bones is a rhythmic feature of several tracks, including Champagne Charlie, a 19th-century English music hall song. Only on the jug band singalong Stealin’, in which Flemons plays an electric kettle, and Short Time Come Again No More, a British parody of Stephen Foster’s Civil War era classic Hard Times, do their vocals combine. Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, the multi-instrumentalist and singing US duo driving Mandolin Orange, produce lead and harmony singing and country/ folk-laced songs of transcendent beauty on their live-sounding third studio album, Blindfaller. The North Carolina counterpart of Nashville’s Americana champions Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, their acoustic music is also a throwback to previous eras, although self-composed. Hard Travelin’, a short but sweet honky-tonk potboiler, and the plaintive Lonesome Whistle have an old-time Lefty Frizzell country flavour. My Blinded Heart has a hint of Hank Williams. Picking Up Pieces has the ring of 1970s Willie Nelson. Hat Fitz and Cara, another meant-to-be combo, also absorb oldtime influences in their self-styled gospel blues. Despite being stripped down to voices, guitar/mandolin and vintage drums, the pair brew up a storm with their stomping rhythms on After the Rain while drawing on anecdotes derived from respective upbringings in rural Australia and urban Belfast. Cara’s vocal range extends from gentle folk with Irish brogue to Aretha-esque soul.