How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
A Man for All Seasons. Since Naxos Jazz released its first discs, one name continually pops up both as a performer, producer and executive producer: New Zealander Mike Nock. Nock has already performed on two Naxos Jazz discs: The angular Mike Nock Trio Not We But One (86006-2) and the rollicking New York Jazz Collective’s I don’t Know This World Without Don Cherry (86003-2). He has acted as producer or executive producer on a large number of the current Naxos Jazz releases. In short, he is all over Naxos Jazz's map.
Ozboppin'. Mr. Nock's latest endeavor is a spirited Post Bop/Avant-garde collection of originals and one standard (Ellington's "Come Sunday"). The disc's opener and title cut is a collage of solo, duo, trio and full ensemble playing. It is kind of a compressed history of Jazz in 5:11. There is a little Bebop, Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Post Bop and beyond. What a great piece. It carries on with such a harried momentum that the listener wonders when it will lose its centrifugal force and spin off into parts unknown. But Nock keeps it all together for an exciting ride. A jazz "Short Ride in a Fast Machine for Orchestra".
The Fun Doesn't Stop. This disc is full of angular ballads, defiant Jump/Hard Bop pieces and great performances by Nock's regular Australian cohorts. I have found this to be the most satisfying Nock project and I look forward to more of the same.
Naxos Jazz. This recording is among the third wave of Naxos Jazz releases, all of which have been review within these electric pages by this critic. I have found that all of these recordings have been of a very high quality. All, for the most part, have been recorded live direct to two track digital, preserving that special spontaneity that is jazz. Naxos Jazz has also provided a wide variety of styles and performances, all executed superbly. The other recent Naxos Jazz recordings include Bill Cunliffe's Bill Plays Bud (Naxos Jazz 86024-2), Clifford Adams' The Master Power (Naxos Jazz 86015-2), Larry Karush's Art of the Improviser (Naxos Jazz 86019-2), Flipside's Flipside (Naxos Jazz 86013-2), and Donny McCaslin's Exile and Discovery (Naxos Jazz 86014-2).
Track Listing: Ozboppin', the Philosophers, Five'll Getcha!, Exile, Snafu, Dreamtime Visitor, Come Sunday, The Emperor's Clothes, End of a Love Affair.
Personnel: Mike Nock: Piano, Tim Hopkins: Tenor Saxophone, Phil Slater: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Cameron Undy: Bass, David Goodman: Drums.