All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

380

Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra: The Mothership Plays the Music of Mike Nock

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Since returning to Australia, where he's led an active life as an educator, writer and performer, Mike Nock has become one of the area's most prominent and influential pianists. It's a shame that he's such a well-kept secret internationally, though, because during the quarter-century that he spent in the US prior to 1985, Nock forged new territory with the seminal fusion band The Fourth Way and released a number of outstanding albums, notably In Out and Around (Timeless, 1978), featuring Michael Brecker; and Ondas (ECM, 1982), with Eddie Gomez and Jon Christensen. Both records demonstrate a well-rounded pianism that draws from a multiplicity of sources, and a writing style that combines powerful lyricism with abstract impressionism and a reverential but still distinctive sense of tradition.

It's no surprise that tunes from both albums are included on this tribute release by Australia's Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. "Hadrian's Wall (from In Out and Around) remains one of Nock's most compelling and enduring compositions. But rather than echo the deeper, Kenny Wheeler-like melancholy of the original, the eighteen-piece big band takes a brighter approach, even though the hook of the tune retains the slightest hint of bittersweetness.

Guitarist James Muller is another one of Australia's well-kept secrets, despite broader exposure on drummer Chad Wackerman's last two fusion records, Scream (Favored Nations, 2000) and Legs Eleven (Chad Wackerman, 2004). Muller demonstrates his strength at navigating changes with a cleaner tone, while trumpeter Phil Slater, who appeared on Nock's Ozboppin' (Naxos Jazz, 1998), solos over the ending ostinato with an almost paradoxical blend of space and flurried phrasing.

Slater's solo over a rubato brass section introduces "Doors (from Ondas) before the tune shifts into a metrically complex main section where Slater solos over a bass/drums trio and David Theak's purposeful alto work receives support from Muller's suggestive chords, bassist Brendan Clarke's robust anchor and drummer Evan Mannell's gradually intensifying polyrhythms.

The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra is part of the Jazzgroove Association, a Sydney-based collective formed in 1998 to provide more performance opportunities for established and emerging players. The Mothership Plays is the 30th release on the association's label, Jazzgroove Records, and its first large ensemble work, so it's only fitting that it pay tribute to Nock, who's been a mentor to many of the ensemble's players.

Four of the arrangements are by Nock, with the balance by members of the Mothership Orchestra, save for David Springfield's arrangement of "Blues For... —one of four Nock compositions that appear on disc for the first time here. An imaginative blues that pits different sections of the group against each other for the theme, it ultimately settles into a sparser, straight-ahead swinging groove featuring a gritty solo from trombonist Danny Carmichael.

With the winning combination of Nock's memorable music, bold arrangements that are never brash, and a bevy of players who all deserve to be heard beyond the confines of Australasia, The Mothership Plays the Music of Mike Nock dovetails nicely with Nock's own Bigsmallband Live (ABCJAZZ, 2003), and is recommended for listeners who are looking for modernity in their large ensembles.


Track Listing: Hadrian's Wall; Nata Lagal; Floating Cloud, Flowing River; Doors; Everbody Wants to Go to Heaven; Isospin; Choose the Beauty Path; Earthbound; Blues For...

Personnel: David Theak: lead alto and soprano saxophones, alto solo (4); Murray Jackson: alto saxophone, solo (6); Matt Keegan: tenor saxophone, solo (2); Scott Langley: tenor saxophone, flute, tenor solo (8); Nick Bowd: baritone saxophone, solo (5); Simon Sweeney: lead trumpet, flugelhorn, trumpet solo (8); Angus Gomm: co-lead trumpet, flugelhorn; Simon Ferenci: trumpet, flugelhorn, trumpet solo (6); Tim Crow: trumpet, flugelhorn; Phil Slater: solo trumpet, solos (1, 4); Jeremy Bothwick: lead trombone, solo (3); Danny Carmichael: trombone, solo (9); John Hibbard: trombone, solo (5); Colin Burrows: bass trombone; James Muller: guitar, solos (1, 3); Sean Wayland: piano, solo (2); Brendan Clarke: bass, solo (9); Even Mannell: drums; Mike Nock: guest piano soloist (7).

Title: The Mothership Plays the Music of Mike Nock | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Jazzgroove Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Between the Silence CD/LP/Track Review
Between the Silence
by John Kelman
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Flying CD/LP/Track Review
Flying
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Barxeta II CD/LP/Track Review
Barxeta II
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Vidas Simples CD/LP/Track Review
Vidas Simples
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Kinship CD/LP/Track Review
Kinship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Ask For Chaos CD/LP/Track Review
Ask For Chaos
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 18, 2018
Read "Mal Sirine" CD/LP/Track Review Mal Sirine
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "On The Radio: BBC Sessions 1971" CD/LP/Track Review On The Radio: BBC Sessions 1971
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Head Above Tide" CD/LP/Track Review Head Above Tide
by Paul Naser
Published: April 28, 2018
Read "The Best of the Grateful Dead Live" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of the Grateful Dead Live
by Doug Collette
Published: April 27, 2018
Read "Sing Me Some Cry" CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 6, 2017