Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

6

Tom Barton: Aspirations

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Australian vocalist Tom Barton aspires to blur the lines between genres on this debut. Electronic and acoustic thoughts merge and co-exist beautifully, improvisational elements are born around concrete expressions, and in the middle of it all sits Barton, putting his poetry in motion with beautifully clear-headed vocals.

While the gist of many an album can be gleaned from a single track, Aspirations doesn't work that way. If someone were to simply stumble upon Barton's take on "Spencer The Rover," they might mistake him for a modern folk troubadour. And if Bjork fans were to encounter his slowed-down, thinned-out take on "Hyperballad," they might simply view Barton as an atmospheric traveler. But then there's also "Motion," a number clearly steeped in modern jazz language, "Dirt & Vibration," an artfully crafted piece that opens on a somewhat chirpy idée fixe and continues to grow and evolve from there, "Pearl Point," a performance that conjures thoughts of the sonic marriage between Theo Bleckmann and Kate McGarry, and the darkly expressive "When Did I Give Up?," a number which descends into a ghostly netherworld in midstream. So which one represents the true Tom Barton? The answer is the obvious one: each number represents a piece of Barton, and when Aspirations is heard from start to finish, a full picture of his artistry comes into view.

In putting this album together, Barton put together a band that's more than capable of helping him achieve his vision. Pianist Joseph O'Connor can resort to simple seesawing arpeggios when needed ("Tenchi"), but he puts on his jazz hat when the music calls for it ("Vessel" and "Motion"); bassist Philip Rex and drummer Peter Evans have a way of alternately blending into the electro-acoustic tapestry and standing out; saxophonist Andy Sugg is used sparingly, but he makes his appearances count ("Tenchi" and "Pearl Point"); guitarist Stephen Magnusson can work in spooky and ethereal places or remain grounded, depending on the circumstances; and vocalist Georgie Darvidis adds another layer of humanity to "Pearl Point." They all help Barton to turn his aspirations into reality.

Track Listing: Dirt & Vibration; Hyperballad; Vessel; Spencer The Rover; Motion; When Did I Give Up?; Genome; Tenchi; Tjukurpa; Pearl Point.

Personnel: Tom Barton: voice: vocals, live effects processing; Joseph O'Connor: piano; Philip Rex: double bass; Peter Evans: drums; Stephen Magnusson: guitar; Andy Sugg: saxophone; Georgie Darvidis: vocals.

Title: Aspirations | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Bartone Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer for Tomorrow)" CD/LP/Track Review Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer for...
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "On a Distant Shore" CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "A Cast of Thousands" CD/LP/Track Review A Cast of Thousands
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 30, 2017
Read "Avant-Garde Party Music" CD/LP/Track Review Avant-Garde Party Music
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Sunshine! Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Sunshine! Quartet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Dreamsville" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017