Australian pianist/composer Casey Golden, now a London resident, was last heard from on Miniature (Scrampion Records, 2016) with his long-standing Sydney-based trio. He also appears on Phillip Johnston's The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Cuneiform Records, 2018). Atlas is the first recording from his new London-based quartet with guitarist Alex Munk, bassist Henrik Jensen, drummer Will Glaser and the leader on piano. This is his fourth recording as a leader.
The title tune opens the album quietly. At first a lovely ballad, the bridge goes from rubato piano solo to an insistent rhythm (there's an exciting buildup on Munk's solo), finally briefly revisiting the ballad. "Singularity" features a striking recurring rhythm, and finds space for another fine guitar solo as well as a lyrical double bass solo from Jensen. "Still Life" revisits the minimalist territory explored on Miniature, driven along by a repeated rhythmic figure.
"High Up" begins with unaccompanied piano, building in intensity as the guitar goes into overdrive mode. After the calm of "Christmas Carol," "The Good Fight" revisits the rhythmic feel of "High Up" before settling down into a more conventional jazz groove. The opening figure comes back, but instead of stopping there an electrifying coda brings the piece to a thrilling ending. "Everybody Else" concludes the set with a lovely folk-like tune.
Atlas is a satisfying listen, full of compositional variety (all the tunes are Golden originals), powerful solos and fine playing by the entire band. Here's hoping we hear more from them.
Atlas; Singularity; Still Life; The Hobbyist; High Up (Piano Intro); High Up; Christmas Carol; The Good Fight; Everybody Else.
Casey Golden: piano; Alex Munk: guitar; Henrik Jensen: bass; Will Glaser: drums.