Aussie Baecastuff debuts on Naxos Jazz with an Eastern-influenced extravaganza.
Baecastuff, named for an indigenous Australian tobacco bush, is an Aussie sextet that believes in the wide-open electric/acoustic sound of Miles' In a Silent Way. Matt McMahon's Fender Rhodes peppers the soundscape in a way that reminds me of Keith Jarrett during his Miles tenure. Phillip Slater's open-bell further promotes the effect. Out of This World is a carefully textured landscape of tonal colors and hues. The horn team of Rick Robertson on saxophones and Slater seamlessly weave tactile stories rich in melody and time. The band's take on the standard title tune is illuminating, stripping the Harold Arlen melody to the bone while adding an anxiously suspenseful rhythmic underpinning— kind of like "Over The Rainbow" quoted in Agartha.
This is insistent music with numbing, comfortable rhythms and restless melodies. Searching, probing, Baecastuff infuses every corner of the time and sound spectrum. Their experiment is successful, providing music of durable quality. This disc will appeal to all early electric Miles fans as well as fans of RTF and Weather Report, though it is decidedly more acoustic than the latter. Traditionalists may be put off by this music, but should give it a through listening. There is a lot of bad avant-garde jazz being produced and this certainly cannot be included in that group.
Personnel: Rick Robertson: Soprano and Tenor Saxophones, Flute; Phillip Slater: Trumpet; Simon Barker: Drums; Matt McMahnon: Keyboards; Alexander Hewetson: Bass; Aykho Ahkrif: Percussion.