Liam Ryan: Mississippi 2 Mauao (Torch)

 |   |  <1 min read

Liam Ryan: Blue Elevator
Liam Ryan: Mississippi 2 Mauao (Torch)

On the release of excellent recent albums by Wellington pianists Kevin Clark and Charmaine Ford, and Auckland saxophonist Brian Smith I have noted what a rare year it is shaping up to be in New Zealand jazz. And here is further evidence -- but something very different to those mentioned.

Ryan was once the songwriter/keyboardist in the Narcs in the early 80s who were much beloved by radio programmers and the people, but widely disparaged by critics for their soft-rock tendencies.

Those days are well behind Ryan and now he moves in rather more musically rarified circles: this album of groove-orientated, easy stretching jazz underpinned by Ryan's electronic keyboards includes contributions from Midge Marsden on harmonica, DJ Poroufessor on turntables, saxophonist Cam Allen, drummer Steve Garden, trumpeter Grant Mason, slide guitaist Derek Jacombs and others who have cut their teeth on jazz and blues in dozens of sessions and bands.

The title might suggest some earthy blues transported to Aotearoa, but this is more smooth and cruisy than that, despite the odd vocal sample from Alan Lomax's field recordings of the 40s.

So set aside expectation (post-Narcs pop, hardcore blues, whatever) and settle in for this loping, gently explorative 10-track album which reaches back to the more mellow side of 70s jazz-fusion, has nods to Cuba and Brazil, and will (aside from the more thumping Blues Fell This Morning) drift by in a warming glow.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Grinderman: Grinderman (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Grinderman: Grinderman (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

In which Nick Cave takes a break from his dark and Biblical stuff and just gets down and dirty with a raw, edgy band to make music which seems to come with machine oil on its hands and blown... > Read more

Anthonie Tonnon: Successor (Canape King/Southbound)

Anthonie Tonnon: Successor (Canape King/Southbound)

Strange isn't it, how a single song by an artist can resonate in ways you can't comprehend? For me Anthonie Tonnon's song Barry Smith from Hamilton (on his Fragile Thing EP of 2010, when he was... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

MAVIS! A doco by JESSICA EDWARDS

MAVIS! A doco by JESSICA EDWARDS

In an interview with Elsewhere a couple of years ago the Memphis-based writer Robert Gordon noted, “I see my kids in school -- they are now in 9th and 11th grades -- and man, they don't... > Read more

Travelling light: it's in the bag

Travelling light: it's in the bag

As with most people who fancy themselves as a glamorously casual traveller -- able to pick up and run when a flight becomes available -- I would, for many years, pride myself on how economically I... > Read more