A rising star in the jazz landscape of Australia, Richard Pavlidis is a Melbourne-based saxophonist who leads a veteran sextet performing a collection of tunes revealing a combination of blues, swing and modern funk on his latest effort entitled Iconography. Influenced by two late great saxophonists, Michael Brecker and Bob Berg, the album, is in a sense, a reflection of the modern energetic sounds of that era from which Pavlidis draws inspiration for this recording. A proponent of hard bop, the saxophonist injects this preference in much of the music documented here.
Though there are only six pieces on this project it still carries serious weight when you hear the explosive sounds produced by the leader and players. The three powerful tracks that make this album worthy of many spins begin with "Mirrors," where the leader is most pronounced. The hard bop continues on "Figure of Eight" a percussive number featuring Salvador Persico on percussion with James Bowers providing the key work on piano while Owen Downie supports ably on bass and drummer Darryn Farugia weighs in on drums and cymbal work.
The lively up tempo "Straight and Narrow" delivers the third powerhouse number in a row with Pavlidis providing forceful solos on the straight-ahead hard bop composition of the set. The music mellows out a bit on the lengthy nine-minute "The Enigma of a Day," where the saxophonist tones it down on this balladic spot of the session. Pavlidis and group return to the theme of the album on the finale "Still Life" where there is nothing still about this number.
It is unsure why Pavlidis chose the title of the album Iconography, defined in the dictionary as "The science of identification, description and interpretations of symbols and themes, but with compositions titled "Mirrors," "Figure of Eight," and "Straight and Narrow," and a unique art cover of strange symbols, there must be something there about jazz. What is clearly discernable is the music, bright, powerful and engaging and for Richard Pavlidis, that is all that matters!
Persona; Mirrors; Figure of Eight; Straight and Narrow; The Enigma of a Day; Still Life.
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