Eric Myers Jazz

work in progress

JAZZ ALBUM REVIEWS IN THE AUSTRALIAN

In September, 2017 Eric Myers commenced reviewing jazz albums in the Review supplement of The Weekend Australian. All reviews in this folder are written by Myers.

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JAZZ

INSURGENT

MAT JODRELL

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Nicholas Records

Four stars

Published in the Weekend Australian, June 22, 2019

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Australian trumpeter Mat Jodrell, now back home after conquering New York, has assembled an all-star band to play seven original compositions. Beautiful works, they reveal Jodrell’s potent vision as to how modern jazz should sound, built around his own formidable artistry as an instrumentalist. The members of this quintet play with enormous authority, including guitarist James Muller. Those wondering why Muller is celebrated by musicians and critics can savour here his fluent and effortless playing. But, I ask as a devil’s advocate, does he not sound sometimes as if he’s on automatic pilot? One would be hard-pressed to find musicians in Australian jazz with better pedigrees than Sam Anning (double bass) and Ben Vanderwal (drums), joined here by the brilliant UK saxophonist Will Vinson. But, is brilliance enough? As our finest musicians struggle for recognition, I think this is a valid question.

Eric Myers

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JAZZ

TRANSIENTS VOLUME 1

ANDREA KELLER

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Independent

Four stars

Published in the Weekend Australian, June 29, 2019

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This charming and provocative album from Melbourne experimental pianist/composer Andrea Keller, features nine musicians in small aggregations, performing nine of her unpredictable compositions, inspired by her mentor the late Allan Browne. The title Transients reminds us that, in jazz, a recording is merely a snatch of musical experience at a given moment in time. Keller’s beautiful piano playing is surrounded by the work of great musicians Julien Wilson (tenor saxophone), James Macaulay (trombone), Stephen Magnusson (guitar), Sam Anning (bass) and others equally eminent. She adroitly balances the essential elements: written themes, a variety of moods in the pieces, and reliance on the improvisational ability of the musicians. In the process Keller provides an insightful commentary upon many of the sub-genres in modern jazz. Highlights are many, including a tender tune, Saint Misha, dedicated to her husband Michael Meagher, and Grateful Hopeful Joyful, a moving tribute to the much-loved UK pianist John Taylor.

Eric Myers

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JAZZ

NIGHT MUSIC

JAMIE OEHLERS

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Independent

Four stars

Published in the Weekend Australian, July 7, 2019

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Perth’s Jamie Oehlers won the White Foundation World Sax Competition in 2003 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where he defeated 60 international contestants. One of the great saxophonists playing today, his formidable prowess can be savoured on this album. His eight compositions are inspired by the hours between dusk and dawn. Listeners should be prepared for complexity. A quintet including saxophone, trumpet (Ricki Malet), piano (Harry Mitchell), bass (Zac Grafton) and drums (Ben Vanderwal) evokes the ambience of old-style hard-bop, but Oehlers’ compositions are intricate and advanced, and the time-feels in the rhythm section busy. Some listeners may struggle, unless they are drawn to the mystique of modern jazz at its cutting edge. Vanderwal’s full-on style contrasts with contemporary American drummers who are emulating the crisp, spare sounds of classical percussionists. The electric piano, out of fashion for many years, is played so well here that it sounds like a refreshing innovation.

Eric Myers