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 articles index

Chisholm/Meehan/Dyne: Unwind (Rattle)

Chisholm/Meehan/Dyne: Unwind (Rattle)

Wellington pianist/author/teacher and composer Norman Meehan has appeared a few times at Elsewhere but bassist Paul Dyne, once a mainstay of New Zealand jazz in Sustenance during the Eighties... > Read more

Bobo Stenson Trio: Cantando (ECM/Ode)

Bobo Stenson Trio: Cantando (ECM/Ode)

Swedish pianist Stenson is one of those rare individuals who extends the contract of improvisation by deliberately drawing on diverse source material, which gives him and his musicians different... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Waves: Arrow (1975)

Waves: Arrow (1975)

Of the many New Zealand albums long overdue for a reissue, the sole album by the acoustic quartet Waves is among the most worthy. The band of Michael Matthew, Kevin Wildman, Graeme Gash and... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Steve Abel

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Steve Abel

Singer-songwriter Steve Abel is extremely well-known and highly regarded by fellow New Zealand musicians and a loyal following, but perhaps completely unrecognised beyond that world. That he... > Read more