Composed and led by saxophonist /composer Sandy Evans (OAM) this album of ambient landscapes is a musical response to photographer Belinda Webster's Shoalhaven Gorge series of photographic images which traverse the tranquility of rock formations reflected in still waters at dawn, to the darkness of chasms and rock formations in an area of unique and pristine natural Australian bushland.
The music is a series of duets with Evans by numerous musical contributors interspersed with tracks featuring drummer/composer Alon Ilsar's sonic wizardry.These dynamic instrumental pieces stay mostly rooted in the ambient mode, but occasionally soar and fly beyond, demonstrating a dizzying range of technique and tone complemented by Satsuki Odamura's blissfully evocative koto playing, Bobby Singh's cheeky tabla with his supple hand percussion making the disc's rhythms feel organic, Adrain Sherriff's sometimes bold and brassy bass trombone and the hauntingly faultless earthy double bass playing of Steve Elphick.
The group's interplay in duets is as bright and smart as the leaders' compositions. Some are simple frameworks for coasting and trading fun solos, though the more successful moments lie in the surprising juxtapositions of instruments. Stand out tracks include the evocative and redolent "Lake Yarrunga Colours" featuring the mastery of Satsuki Odamura's koto and the prowess of Evans' soprano alongside "Rock Warrior" and "Lake Yarrunga Morning Mist" featuring the deftly skillful tabla playing of Bobby Singh and the inventiveness of Evans' tenor and soprano saxophones respectively. This would have to be, indeed, one of the most intriguing contemporary musical releases in Australia this year.
Rock Water Temple; Lake Yarrunga Morning Mist; CliffEdge;
Dasavatara; Blue Gorge; Curved Tree; Tree Tangle; Rock Warrior;
Lake Yarrunga Colours; Stonefish; Lake Yarrunga; Rock Warrior 2.
Sandy Evans: soprano & tenor saxophone
Steve Elphick: double bass
Alon Ilsar: air sticks & drums
Satsuki Odamura: koto & bass koto
Adrian Sherriff: bass trombone
Bobby Singh: Tabla
Barry O'Sullivan is a jazz broadcaster, music reviewer, and feature article contributor which is broadcast twice weekly and nationally across Australia via the Community Radio Network and streamed live each Friday from 12.00pm AEST & [email protected]