Tell It Like It Is — Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band

Tell It Like It Is

(ABC Jazz)

AT Wangaratta Festival of Jazz in 2007, when this band played You Never Forget Love, it was as if Isaacs felt every nuance and played it, James Muller’s guitar avoided maudlin and Matt Keegan’s sax conveyed tenderness and acceptance of loss. This was love departed, but lingering.

Now Isaacs on piano, Muller, Keegan, Brett Hirst on bass and Tim Firth on drums — an Australian version of his LA Resurgence album band — have released eight Isaacs compositions on a live album recorded at the Sound Lounge, Sydney, last year.

This powerhouse band does not pussyfoot around in the vigorous Minsk, with its expansive piano, catchy melody and driving rhythms, and the full-on Tell It Like It Is, with forceful sax, guitar and bass solos and an effective, piano-driven finale.

Yet there is not only strength. Isaacs has great presence in his solo, Night Song Part 2, and Homecoming contrasts big sax with delicate piano and guitar before they build up the energy and tempo. Lush, full-bodied bossa nova Angel sways to a glorious conclusion.

This resurgence is better than the first.

ROGER MITCHELL

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