Jazz

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Brad Nor­ing­ton

Not Ev­ery­thing But Enough Alis­ter Spence Trio In­de­pen­dent “Not ev­ery­thing but enough” could be the ep­i­thet for a good ex­is­tence with in­evitable com­pro­mises along the way. But there are no com­pro­mises on the Alis­ter Spence Trio’s lat­est re­lease, and its ti­tle un­der­states mu­sic bor­der­ing on a jazz mas­ter­piece. From the open­ing ti­tle track there is an epic qual­ity to this in­ven­tive work by three Aus­tralian mu­si­cians who have recorded to­gether since 2000, when not ab­sorbed in separate projects of note. The two CDs of this dou­ble al­bum are very dif­fer­ent. The first has seven struc­tured pieces that are con­ven­tional com­po­si­tions in mod­ern jazz terms. While Spence uses pre­pared pi­ano, mu­sic box and sam­ples to help build the over­all sound, it is none­the­less of­ten sur­pris­ing that a stripped-down trio is the ba­sic source. Pieces 1-7 be­gin with gen­tle keys of the pi­ano and sub­tle glock­en­spiel, then morph into a multi-lay­ered, rich en­sem­ble sound driven by strong bass lines and per­cus­sion. The ef­fect is due to play­ers all well versed in cre­at­ing a com­plex, in­te­grated sound: Lloyd Swanton from the Necks on dou­ble bass, Toby Hall from Mike Nock’s bands on drums and glock­en­spiel, and pi­anist Spence, known for his col­lab­o­ra­tions with the Aus­tralian Art Orches­tra, Wan­der­lust and Ja­panese per­former Sa­toko Fu­jii. The sec­ond CD is a com­plete shift to 21 im­pro­vised tracks that range from dis­cor­dant to am­bi­ent. Each is ti­tled Room and num­bered. The sec­ond al­bum works as ab­stract mu­si­cal com­part­ments of Spence’s mind in which his band mates en­ter at will.

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