Tag Archives: An Accumulation of Subtleties


ROGER MITCHELL picks his favourite albums for the year

A top 10 is a little like a star rating — how can diverse albums be assessed against each other according to some sort of merit test? But I’ve been happy over the past few years to prepare such a list for the Sunday Herald Sun‘s Play liftout because it is another way for people to hear about albums they may like to buy and enjoy. Reviewers were given 15 words in which to describe each album. I chose from albums I’d reviewed during the year, so there are many good albums not considered because I did not manage to review them. The main test I applied for this top 10 was to ask myself which albums I had played most since writing the review.

Joe Chindamo

1 Joe Chindamo
Another Place, Some Other Time
Interpretations of Coen brothers film music vie with the originals in their power to move.

Mike Nock Trio

2 Mike Nock Trio
An Accumulation Of Subtleties
Double CD of studio and live sessions is an accumulation of creativity, spontaneity and vibrancy.

Dark Eyes

3 Tomasz Stanko Quintet
Dark Eyes
Polish trumpeter Stanko’s sublimely mournful playing is a brooding presence on his simple, moving compositions.

The Gathering

4 Stu Hunter
The Gathering
Pianist/composer Stu Hunter’s imaginative, compelling second suite is more enthralling and engrossing than his first.

The Effects of Weather

5 Way Out West
The Effects Of Weather
Asian themes seamlessly mesh with jazz grooves, building stories through complex rhythms and horn overlays.

Newell Waltz

6 Howard Cairns Quintet
Newell Waltz
Luxuriant harmonies mingle with melodies and timbres to create moods variously dark, spirited and humorous.

Boggy Creek Bop

7 Snap
Boggy Creek Bop
Reed-only quartet offers many moods and styles, proving you can never have too much sax.

Une Saison en Enfer

8 Allan Browne Quintet
Une Saison En Enfer
Rimbaud’s poem inspires harmonically rich, darkly beautiful pieces with dreamy musing, wistful longing and majesty.


9 Jex Saarelaht Quartet
Standout Stonnington Jazz concert brilliantly captured is testament to the quality of pianist Saarelaht’s quartet.


10 Luke Howard Trio
The Meadowlands
Sensitive bass and drums accompaniment allows the piano’s lyrical, crystalline beauty to shine. forth.



Mike Nock Trio

4 stars

AN accumulation of creativity, spontaneity and vibrancy, this double CD is the deeply satisfying result of a Sydney Opera House Studio session and a weekend live at Sydney’s Sound Lounge, both recorded in 2008.

With no agenda in the studio “except to allow the music to come through”, Mike Nock on piano, Ben Waples on double bass and brother James on drums, converse with compelling clarity and understanding that taps the source of great art. Notes in Joyous Awakening hang suspended, their beauty in simplicity and gentle dissonance. The fragmentary Rite of Passage evokes the birth of music as if from a primeval swamp.

The live pieces are equally eclectic, moving from the evolving patterns and tempos of Elsewhen, through the upbeat Beautiful Stranger to the expansive, lyrical ballad The Wind. Nock’s A Tree Has Its Heart In Its Roots is a triumph of strength and fragility, sustaining depth and compelling intricacy.

File beside: Paul Grabowsky
Download: Joyous Awakening


A slightly shorter version of this review was published in the Sunday Herald Sun’s Play liftout on July 11, 2010