Dave Wilson: Ephemeral (Thelonious Records/bandcamp)

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Dissipation
Dave Wilson: Ephemeral (Thelonious Records/bandcamp)

With a string quartet and quintet, Wellington saxophonist Wilson brings out a provocative, enjoyably challenging and thoroughly engrossing collection of charted and improvised pieces.

There is multi-layered energy to burn on the opener Speak to Me of Yesterday and Tomorrow (Elusive as the Dead) – all lower case – which weaves its way towards the electric version of Ornette Coleman's harmolodics and the more romantic unease of What Shines is A Thought That Lost Its Way which opens with yearning violin but later morphs through passages underpinned by repeated phrases into Mingus-like funk and a tasty spaghetti of coiled sax, strings and funky grooves.

These are impressive openers, but elsewhere there is the swinging High Maintenance with guitarist Callum Allardice and trumpeter Ben Hunt counted among Most Valuable Players, the whimsically pastoral but urban-cum-prog.jazz of the shape-shifting 14 minute Liv's Theme (Mingus again?) and bass clarinet melancholy against strings and arco bass (the tone poem of For Olivia).

These are fascinating and exciting jazz orchestra arrangements with as much Ellington as Mingus in some places for the horns (Dissipation with Wilson and Allardice leading from the front).

There's also a sense of great fun and enjoyment here (Lift) and some great jazz and funk-fusion traditions being reinvigorated.

Well worth discovering.

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You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here. It is released on Friday December 1.

Ephemeral will be launched at Wellington's Newtown Community Centre Theatre, Columbo Street and Rintoul Street. Saturday December 2: 4:15pm and 7:15pm


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