Home » Jazz Articles » Ryan Daunt: Essence

Album Review

Ryan Daunt: Essence


Sign in to view read count
Ryan Daunt: Essence
Drummer, educator, bandleader, and composer Ryan Daunt hails from Australia. Daunt is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) with a First-Class Honours Degree in Music, majoring in Jazz Performance. In 2016, he released his debut album. A busy sideman, Daunt has performed with a myriad of jazz artists including Kneebody, Troy Roberts, David Theak, Julian Arguelles, Kate Ceberano, Julien Wilson, Vince Jones, Ross Irwin, Alan Vizutti, Robert Childs, and David Childs. His second leader release, Essence, features a trio playing eleven original compositions written by Daunt.

"The Clutch" begins the album, and it is apparent that Daunt is a composer that takes his time to unveil his captivating melodies. Daunt's playing is precise and has a sense of joy as pianist Tristan Wills plays the arpeggio pattern leading to the central theme. The composition is filled with suspense as each section leads to the next, which creates a pleasurable form. Bassist Nick Abbey offers a melodic solo as the trio builds around it until Wills takes over with muted piano strings paired with flowing lines. Again, Daunt is the driving force and keeps everything moving forward and rhythmically on track. The theme of interaction between the three players is evident throughout the album.

"Essence" is a modern jazz composition that pulls delicate sections and powerful chordal figures into sophisticated movements that complement each other, painting a musical picture of a composite of today's jazz with elements of yesteryear. There is something free yet constrained about Daunt's playing; you have no idea what he will do next, yet you know it will be confined to the dimensions of the feel and pulse. From moment to moment, you are on an adventure of rhythmic motifs. Daunt's drum solo is driving, brave and compelling, yet there is a fragility that underpins the interplay around the drum kit that is deeply mesmerizing.

Daunt communicates a sound through Essence that has elements of American jazz, European jazz, and, most importantly, Australian jazz. Yet, he holds true to his inner time and uses his trio to bring us a set of new-sounding compositions brought to life by a talented group of young lions. This jazz has a perfectly distinctive feeling, and it's one of beauty.

Track Listing

The Clutch; Contentment Within; Essence; Lux; Soup and Tea; A Walk With You; Bad Maths; Slow Burn; Ups and Downs; Take a Moment; Massif.


Ryan Daunt: drums; Tristan Wills: piano; Nick Abbey: bass.

Album information

Title: Essence | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Self Produced

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album



New Oxford Brevity
Dominic Lash / Pat Thomas
Dedicated To You
Joe Coughlin
Times Like These
Nica Carrington
Blue Note Re:imagined II
Various Artists


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.