76

Blake Wilner Quartet: Interloper

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Blake Wilner Quartet: Interloper At the risk of being guilty of national stereotyping, I have to say that London-based Australian expat Blake Wilner's guitar playing reminds me of Russell Crowe. Wilner may or may not enjoy pitching mobile phones at hotel receptionists, or rounding off an evening's drinking with an invigorating bar room brawl, but he brings the same lurching Wild West unpredictability to his music as his thespian compatriot does to a night on the town.

Bring it on. Interloper punches the lights out and announces Wilner's certain arrival in the major league. All the elements that have distinguished his previous three albums—slow-drag rock and funk motor rhythms, interactive tenor sax/guitar improvisations, fractured bass/drum ostinatos, high contrast dynamics, shifting tempos, an embrace of pause and silence, and lyrical post bop toplines—are again present, but the mixture is more fully and effectively realised than before. It's dangerous, exciting, individual and delightful.

And this time round, Wilner's band members all play like motherfuckers, too. The biggest and best news is the return of saxophonist Brandon Allen, a fellow Australian expat and collaborator of Wilner's since the early days of the quartet in Perth (both musicians left for London around the same time, but life temporarily took them in different directions). Allen's lusty playing—which mixes free, funk, jam band, Stax and straight-ahead just like Wilner's, and is also as gorgeously and messily lyrical—is a major ingredient in the album's success.

Bassist Oli Hayhurst, a founding member of Gilad Atzmon's Orient House ensemble, returns from 2004's The Reprieve, but teamed this time with Chris Hutchings, a drummer of comparable wit and propulsive power, who's been playing with Wilner on and off since 2001. It's a bad-ass band with brains.

Wilner's writing hits a new peak too. Faux fumbling on the opening "Drunken Romance," meditative on the closing "The Prayer," and tempestuous and passionate in between—"Interloper," "Stormy Monday," "In The City" and "Dangerous Mind" do just what they promise on the can. Forward motion, melodic invention, back-line soul, and big architecture are constant.

The Blake Wilner Quartet tours Australia in June/July and the UK in November/December.

Visit Blake Wilner on the web.


Track Listing: Drunken Romance; Mo Mo; Interloper; Stormy Friday; In The City; Dangerous Mind; Deconstruction; Cafe Rouge; The Prayer.

Personnel: Blake Wilner: guitar; Brandon Allen: saxophone; Oli Hayhurst: bass; Chris Hutchings: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Ant Jazz | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Beam Me Up" CD/LP/Track Review Beam Me Up
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "We Live Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Live Here
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "Now Hear This!" CD/LP/Track Review Now Hear This!
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Rising Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Grace
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Festen" CD/LP/Track Review Festen
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Troy Collins
Published: October 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!