Jazz

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

Subter­ra­nia Mo­saic Edi­tion Subter­ranea is the de­but al­bum from six-piece Bri­tish ensemble Mo­saic, led by the 2015 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize win­ner, Bri­tish vi­bra­phon­ist Ralph Wyld. The seven tracks are all com­po­si­tions by Wyld, ex­pan­sive and bold, mostly al­low­ing space for in­ten­sive improvisation, es­pe­cially from the leader’s vi­bra­phone. Much of the ensemble work is led by James Co­pus’s trum­pet or flugel­horn, while Sam Rap­ley’s bass clar­inet mur­murs an un­der­tow or takes off into a solo, driven along by Scott Chap­man’s in­ven­tive per­cus­sion. Cryp­togram is a good in­tro­duc­tion to the group’s style, with its breaks into stop/start pas­sages as per­cus­sion works en­er­get­i­cally and the ensemble moves into a semi­clas­si­cal mode us­ing Ce­cilia Big­nall’s cello. The cello also fea­tures in the be­gin­ning of the clos­ing track, Reprise, leading the group into a spread­ing se­quence for trum­pet to take over the lead. The ti­tle track opens mys­te­ri­ously with a sin­gle-note vibes pat­tern, be­fore the sub­dued ensemble ar­rives to build an in­tro for Misha Mullov-Ab­bado’s quick mov­ing bass solo, which in turn leads into a silky solo from bass clar­inet. Many of th­ese tracks open with a semi­clas­si­cal style ar­range­ment, and Kaira Konko — the long­est at more than 12 min­utes — fol­lows that open­ing ap­proach be­fore mov­ing into a repet­i­tive trum­pet pas­sage and melodic solo with a richly coloured ensemble back­ing. There are ghostly begin­nings too to In­ter­lude 1 and In­ter­lude 2, em­pha­sis­ing the cello and mul­ti­ple or­ches­tral ef­fects, re­in­stat­ing echoes of the clas­sics, and both tracks are de­void of any­thing re­sem­bling a jazz solo. The uni­fied fi­nale, Reprise, re­vis­its sev­eral of the other tracks and draws them to­gether for a fit­ting con­clu­sion.

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