Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Tenor and soprano saxophonist Paul Van Ross recorded these eight originals with a quintet at a Melbourne jazz club (before an inaudible audience, if there was one) in just one day in April 2011.
That's a measure of how confident the players are, and presumably how familiar with the often bouncy and slightly quirky material they were.
Van Ross writes tunes in what we might call a classic style. That is, they have memorable heads and rhythms -- and sometimes slightly witty titles as in the Brubeck-nod on Blue Rendezvous with Three Turks -- which make for a strong degree of approachability.
His skittish and serpentine playing on Swami in De House for example might take time to establish a direction, and indeed take it anywhere for a while, but you can't help but smile and enjoy the gentle, circuitous ride before organist Kim Kelaart picks up the swing end of things.
Guitarist Hugh Stuckey brings some fluid and wiry playing to Blue Rendezvous, on Someone Somewhere Sometime the soprano has a light touch like a bird trying to decide on which branch to land, and Uncle DJ is a truly lovely and understated ballad with a melancholy but romantic tone which suggests this might be Van Ross' real forte.
On the sleeve American saxophonist George Garzone says what he likes about Van Ross' music is the "hard, fast and exciting playing", but there's scant evidence of that here on these measured tunes. That said when the pace does pick up just a little -- the title track and The Goat Herder -- you do get hints of some latent power.
But mostly this adopts a more gentle approach (Off with the Fairies at the end another lightly stepping and swinging piece) which will find favour with those listening in their own home. The high energy stuff might be more in evidence on the bandstand.
And in that regard . . .
Van Ross is playing some dates in New Zealand in March (see below) with drummer Mark Lockett (from this session) and local players Alan Brown (Hammond organ) and Cameron McArthur (on the Tauranga date). Those dates are:
Wednesday March 27th – Auckland CJC - 1885 Britomart, 27 Galway St, Britomart Precinct, Auckland
Sunday March 31st – Tauranga International Jazz Festival
Monday April 1st – Tauranga International Jazz Festival