Sean Wayland: Expensive Habit (2008)
From Sydney Australia, pianist/composer Sean Wayland delivers Expensive Habit, a crystalline view of his formidable skills. Unbeknownst to many, Wayland has been around the globe and studio for a number of years with numerous credits and a dozen recordings as a leader. But if you took the names of Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings or Joey Calderazzo, he is a player of the same high caliber.
Like many musicians persevering without label deals, Wayland has released his own music covering the gamut of classic jazz, popular and other genres. And while the production values of Expensive Habit clearly lack "bling and cosmetic bells and whistles, the music shines brightly on its own. Recorded in New York, it features Wayland supported by some dazzling players including saxophonists Donny McCaslin, Will Vinson and longtime associate, guitarist James Muller, also from Australia.
Fourteen originals of modern jazz that truly swing; things ignite like wild-fire. The tongue-in-cheek " Trane Plus Molly Equals Countdown" is a serious burning bopper, featuring Wayland's ingenious chops on acoustic piano supported by an unyielding rhythm section. One of its cousins "Arc Etude, is straight hard bop with fearless solos from Wayland, McCaslin's throaty tenor and fine picking from Muller.
Wayland proves equally adept when "plugged in mixing acoustic with synths on Beautiful, electronic keyboards on "Accept Your Life and computer on "Jochen Computer.
There's a lot to absorb, yet this is more than just a demo recording of Wayland's skills as a performer. There's insightful composition heard in "Grandmother Chord Repeat, a tune that moves through dangerous time signatures. A classic romantic quality on the ballad "Little Bay and a sense of techno-experimentation on "Surging Darkness and "Out They Go show Wayland's abilities across a variety of styles.
There's a view that "some jazz artists take themselves too seriously. Perception, packaging and persona may be relevant to an artist's exposure. What really matters in the end, is what the music brings to the listener. Expensive Habit most definitely provides high-quality with plenty of substance.
Track Listing: Trane Plus Molly Equals Countdown; Beautiful; Arc Etude; Accept Your Life; Oberheim; Little Bay; Wayland Solo; Grandmother Chord Repeat; Vibulator; Jochen Computer; Xpanda; Surging Darkness; Out They Go; Mcbride Transposed.
Personnel: Sean Wayland: acoustic piano, keyboards, synths, computer; Luca Benedetti: guitar; James Muller: guitar; Matt Penman: bass; Donny McCaslin: tenor sax; Will Vinson: alto sax; Chris Baumann: saxophone; Nick McBride: drums; Jochen Rueckert: drums.