Zirkus: Sirius Music (iiii)

 |   |  1 min read

Zirkus: Swamp Song
Zirkus: Sirius Music (iiii)

Wellington certainly throws up some interesting, if not always convincing, improvising artists who edge towards the free jazz idiom but rather hit a default position of swing-cum-Dixie with some slightly self-conscious moments.

This one -- recorded live in Happy and on the iiii label -- shows that the spirit of the old Braille label and artists like Six Volts still looms large as this big ensemble (lots of saxes and trumpet alongside clarinet, banjo and some spoken word) weave their way through woozily enjoyable tunes (all by pianist Rosie Langabeer), many of which revert to some very familiar riffs and changes.

Still, when those saxes err towards the more free end of the spectrum and the mood shifts awaay from some awful oompah you get a scent of some something interesting brewing.

No ideas get a serious extension however, and the vocal chant thing at the end of March of the Crocodiles is seemingly endless (editing might have been useful) as is the sqeaked and vocalised intro the 12 minute Milly Mae Moet which follows. When it finds its feet is a bent cabaret piece which gradually devolves into something tonally interesting in a disconcerting, ambient way.

The overall sense here however is that this must have been thoroughly enjoyable to play (and watch) on the night -- but, as with some of those earlier iiii and Braille releases, not everything translates as well to a home listening experience, especially when some of the opportunities to really stretch out and impress go begging as the players revert to jolly heads of tunes and pumping ensemble playing.

Interesting, but more a document than a record. 

Share It

Your Comments

mark - Aug 22, 2010

I totally agree. I am sure it would have been a good gig to have attended but this is impossible to listen to at home.

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Tord Gustavsen Trio; Being There (ECM) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Tord Gustavsen Trio; Being There (ECM) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

This is Norwegian pianist Gustavsen's third album on the prestigious ECM label and his self-described style of "loving every note" is the hallmark of these often beautifully spare tracks... > Read more

Dino Saluzzi/Anja Lechner: Ojos Negros (ECM/Ode)

Dino Saluzzi/Anja Lechner: Ojos Negros (ECM/Ode)

Argentinean bandoneon player Saluzzi (along with Astor Piazzolla) is widely and correctly credited with bringing this instrument to universal attention through his early work with jazz musicians... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THOMAS KENEALLY INTERVIEWED (2010): The people's historian

THOMAS KENEALLY INTERVIEWED (2010): The people's historian

To put it bluntly, Sarah Whitelam didn't muck around. The day after John Nicol sailed off for Britain – the man with whom she'd had child and promised to remain true to in the days before... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Ornette Coleman; Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Ornette Coleman; Original Album Series (Rhino)

The great saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman never seems to have been in any doubt about how he might influence the course of music: the title of his first album was The Shape of Jazz to Come (an... > Read more