Campbell, Rae, Dyne: Storm in a Teacup (Rattle Jazz)

 |   |  1 min read

Campbell, Rae, Dyne: No Show Blues
Campbell, Rae, Dyne: Storm in a Teacup (Rattle Jazz)

For an album which swing as much as it edges towards fluid bop, this outing by guitarist Al Campbell, drummer John Rae and bassist Paul Dyne, teases you into it with the opener, Rae's rhythmical stop-start Just Me Just Me, during which you are never quite sure where it is headed.

Campbell's guitar hits a repeated figure, then bends notes while Dyne (presumably) scratches his strings before establishing a quiet walking pace. And then the melody emerges again just in time to tickle you before it comes to what, on repeat plays, is a logical conclusion.

You know you are in for fun and a good time as well as being challenged, although what follows in Campbell's No Show Blues is where they swing along and Rae conjures up the spirit of Joe Morello on Take Five with a taut, slippery solo over Dyne's solid, melodic and supportive backdrop.

That sense of rhythmic playfulness is evident throughout (they hit an intuitive peak on Dyne's There Wont), Rae gets a brief solo spot with the appropriately titled Hands On at the album's midpoint and Suspended Light which follows is -- as the title also suggests -- a more weightless and quiet affair where there is a keen dialogue between Dyne and Rae while Campbell's skittering and liquid playing veers between delicacy and muscularity in a fine balancing act.

That slightly more assertive style also comes through in Milton's (Many) Words which however doesn't quite take off as it might have. Just as you feel they have warmed to it and are ready to dig deep and hard, it pulls back into a fairly standard swing style.

However Campbell grasps the melancholy in Irving Berlin's White Christmas in a short, slow treatment.

Recorded at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, this is an accomplished album which ultimately offers fewer and smaller surprises than that enticing opener suggests, and if it pulls back from the edge more often than some might like, that takes nothing away from its coherence, charms and almost psychic understanding these three players have.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

SEB ROCHFORD OF POLAR BEAR INTERVIEWED (2010): Always give a job to a busy man

SEB ROCHFORD OF POLAR BEAR INTERVIEWED (2010): Always give a job to a busy man

For a man who can make a big noise and very often, drummer Seb Rochford of the innovative UK jazz quartet Polar Bear (and many other side-projects) is very quietly spoken. It is 10.30am and... > Read more

MURRAY McNABB INTERVIEWED (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

MURRAY McNABB INTERVIEWED (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

The plan would have been timely: a concert acknowledging the half century he’d known and played in bands with drummer Frank Gibson. But then everything changed. “They gave me a year,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER KEVIN BYRT recalls touring the strangely troubled Townes Van Zandt

GUEST WRITER KEVIN BYRT recalls touring the strangely troubled Townes Van Zandt

I first met Townes Van Zandt at Auckland airport in 1988. He and guitarist Mickey White were waiting on the pavement, Townes sitting on his suitcase and Mickey standing next to him. Even in that... > Read more

Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde)

Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde)

When my oldest son in London recently told me that he was going to see Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek) in concert I said something to the effect, that'll be cheerful, a bundle of laughs. That... > Read more