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

TRAPEZE FOR TWO ATOMS

MATT McMAHON & CARL DEWHURST

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Independent

Four stars

Published in the Weekend Australian, August 31, 2019

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This is an album of endless delights. Pianist Matt McMahon and guitarist Carl Dewhurst have been active in Sydney in various sub-genres of modern jazz for over 20 years, with demonstrated brilliance in both structured and free improvisation. Although they have worked together many times in various groups, recently they were invited to perform for the first time as a duo in a regional area. The resultant special empathy, now discovered, is captured here on Trapeze For Two Atoms. The repertoire includes original compositions by both musicians, plus traditional tunes, free improvisation, and a standard Moonlight In Vermont. Playing within themselves, and allowing the music to unfurl naturally, two fine jazz musicians produce pleasingly unadorned music, without artifice. They perform here with enormous clarity of expression and excellent sound quality. Their music might be laid-back and undemonstrative, but at the same time it’s packed with substance.

Eric Myers

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JAZZ

MORE PLEASE!

GRAEME NORRIS

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Gut String Records

Four stars

Published in the Weekend Australian, September 9, 2019

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This is a lovely album from Australian saxophonist Graeme Norris, 55, who went to New York in 2012, and is now teaching at Manhattan School of Music. Ten tracks include six of his originals, plus standards by composers such as Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk. The repertoire deals with a variety of tempos, with a good feel in the rhythm section throughout. Norris is accompanied by New Yorkers Jill McCarron (piano), Rob Block (guitar), Paul Gill (bass) and Phil Stewart (drums). The standard Like Someone In Love cleverly utilises the time-feel of Ahmad Jamal’s famous version of Poinciana. Norris does not dominate the music, nor is he outclassed by the excellent NY musicians. It’s a team effort, and Norris’s composition You Stepped Up For The Team expresses an apt sentiment. This is mainstream/modern jazz, beautifully played, with improvisations that are invariably measured and highly musical.

Eric Myers

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JAZZ

AMEN

JOSEPH FRANKLIN

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Earshift Music

Four stars

 Published in the Weekend Australian, September 21, 2019

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This is not the sort of album most people listen to for pleasure. In jazz this is the avant-garde of today. Recorded in New York Amen has six compositions by Australian Joseph Franklin (semi-hollow bass guitar) performing with Australian Marc Hannaford (piano & electronics) and Japan’s Satoshi Takeishi (drums & percussion). Thankfully I am a listener fascinated by music that is difficult to comprehend. After repeated hearings I came to appreciate a strange beauty in the music, and to admire the musicians’ determination to avoid playing anything that might be considered familiar. Prepared passages, often dissonant and repetitive, are juxtaposed with freely improvised sections. Many of these sounds already exist in the jazz canon and, no matter how iconoclastic Hannaford becomes, he cannot disguise the deep-seated lyricism which is at the core of his pianism. Played brilliantly, this is the old avant-garde, reconfigured for contemporary listeners.

Eric Myers