Brian Smith: Taupo (Manu/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Brian Smith: Kids At Play
Brian Smith: Taupo (Manu/Ode)

Most New Zealand jazz is like the Kiwi: endangered, pokes around in the dark away from public gaze and doesn't take flight.

This year however is shaping up to be a good one: albums by Wellingtonians Kevin Clark and Charmaine Ford are both worth serious attention, and now a long overdue new album from Auckland saxophonist Brian Smith.

Smith recorded one of my favourite local jazz albums, his self-titled release of 1986.

In the two decades since them Smith has continued to play, did the Moonlight Sax thing (and whatever you make of that MOR album you have to concede Smith did it well) and now this which sees him firing hard in places (the coiling and exciting opener) or pulling right back (the restful Moon and Sand).

With the likes of pianist Kevin Field, bassist Kevin Haines, trumpeter Kim Paterson, guitarist Lance Sua, bassist Billy Kristian and drummer Alain Koetsier on hand this is an album of great depth and experience, all of which is underplayed in the service of the compositions which include Smith originals alongside material by Charlie Parker (Perhaps), Gershwin (Soon) and others.

The band also gets looser on the free improv Big Kids At Play.

Yes, this is looking like a very good year in local jazz.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz at Elsewhere articles index

Joey Alexander: Countdown (Motema/Ode)

Joey Alexander: Countdown (Motema/Ode)

Indonesian Alexander is a child prodigy who caught the jazz world's attention as an 11-year old. He seemed a natural and had been weaned on his father's jazz collection. He played for Herbie... > Read more

Trygve Seim/Andreas Utnem: Purcor; Songs for Saxophone and Piano (ECM/Ode)

Trygve Seim/Andreas Utnem: Purcor; Songs for Saxophone and Piano (ECM/Ode)

On a blindfold test -- "What record label is this on?" -- my money would be on greater than 90 percent of music-aware Elsewhere people saying immediately "ECM", and about half... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Kyongju, South Korea: The Sleep of the Just

Kyongju, South Korea: The Sleep of the Just

The middle-aged man was upset I had woken him at the unacceptably early hour of noon. But I guess that's the kind of inconvenience he has to expect if he runs a yogwan, one of the cheap... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; 100 Hits, American Songbooks

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; 100 Hits, American Songbooks

What with Rod Stewart's enormously successful series Great American Songbook, some might be asking . . . just what is in this "songbook"? Fair question because it does seem bottomless... > Read more