Hayden Chisholm: Breve

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Hayden Chisholm: Breve
Saxophonist Hayden Chisholm, who hails from New Zealand, has set up shop in in Germany. His debut set as a leader for Germany's Pirouet Records, Breve, features a teaming with fellow Kiwi, bassist Matt Penman, and British piano legend John Taylor, The sound, untethered by the rhythmic anchoring of a drummer, has a smooth, clean, almost classical feel—a string quartet tackling these tunes wouldn't seem out of place.

Noticeable in the first thirty seconds of the disc's opener is Hayden's tone on alto sax, perhaps the clearest, purist sound of any saxophonist out there today, rivaling—perhaps surpassing—that of one of Duke Ellington's main alto men, Johnny Hodges. Wrapped in the crystalline piano touch of John Taylor, and buoyed by Penman's subtle bass work, the music has a cerebral yet approachable and uncluttered beauty.

Six of the nine tunes on Breve come from Chisholm's pen, bassist Penman contributes two, and pianist Taylor adds one. Opening with Penman's "Patche," the tone is set for a subtle three way interplay in a chamber jazz mode. Chisholm's notes are as light as soap bubbles. Taylor accompanies and steps into the lead with a refined delicacy as Penman supplies the gentle pulse. Chisholm's original, "Barely a Moon," sounds like a whispered yet profound conversation. His "Tinkerbell Swing" has a playful jauntiness, a little swaying energy. Chisholm's alto and Taylor's piano seem to chase each, like improvisational dancers, on "So It Goes," from Taylor's pen.

A soft, nuanced, spare and oddly pretty set by a virtuosic saxophonist.

Track Listing

Patche; Barely a Moon; Tinkerbell Swing; The Elf of Plants; Augmented Waltz; Pass A Cage, Lea; So It Goes; Inebriate Waltz; Fly.


Hayden Chisholm: alto saxophone; John Taylor: piano; Matt Penman: bass.

Album information

Title: Breve | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Pirouet Records

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Makram Aboul Hosn
Dan Pitt Quintet
Greg Skaff
Sun Beans Of Shimmering Light
Wadada Leo Smith / Douglas Ewart / Mike Reed
Northwestern Songs
Arne Torvik
I Am Not A Virus
Jordan VanHemert
Sam Rivers


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.