Tag Archives: Compression


Howard Cairns

A study in concentration: Howard Cairns with his quintet.

GIG: Howard Cairns Quintet, Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, October 30, 2012 at 8.30pm

Bassist Howard Cairns has released two albums with his quintet, both demonstrating it was about time he did. Ausjazz blog has been badly remiss in not yet reviewing the second album, Compression, but gave four stars to Cairns’ first album as leader, Newell Waltz (Jazzhead).

Tonight the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative presents the quintet — a chord-less line-up of Cairns, Mike Jordan on drums, Steve Grant on cornet, Don Stewart on trombone and Julien Wilson on woodwinds.

As the MJC website states, given Cairns’ involvement with artists from the Yarra Yarra Jazz Band, Ross Hannaford, Allan Browne’s Rascals, the Dancehall Racketeers, Michelle Nicole, Andy Cowan, and Way Out West, it’s no surprise that his current line up blurs boundaries and cuts between numerous influences and feels.

“Cairns’ premiered his Quintet for the MJC in 2009. He recently launched Compression, which reflects Cairns’ interests in calypso, milonga, waltz and odd time signatures.



GIG PREVIEW: HOWARD CAIRNS QUINTET launches the album Compression, THURSDAY 26 JULY 2012, THE KELVIN CLUB, 8:30PM TICKETS $15/$10 available at the door.
Entry includes a complimentary CD

Howard Cairns

Howard Cairns in recording mode with Origami, not his quintet.

If you have never been to the Kelvin Club, then it’s time you did.

On stage, unless it’s been moved*, is a stuffed camel. The whole place is surreal.

It’s the ideal venue to hear Compressed, which is the second album from the pen of bassist Howard Cairns.

I was intending to do an interview or at least write something halfway decent in honour of this occasion, given that I know it will be a fantastic gig. But a little matter of selection criteria has managed to get in the way. Public service selection criteria. They are complex. They are tough. But I digress.

I’m hoping there is still time to get some people out to hear this quintet. To that end i have pinched some press release material and pasted it here. I don’t usually do that, but it’s late and it’s a case of now or never. Please read, inwardly digest and come out to the Kelvin Club.

Howard Cairns is someone whose face you have seen often as the solid bass player, working within many genres around the music scene for years. He is familiar and his playing is a strong foundation of sound for numerous treasures and experienced musicians.

In Howard’s own words, his present position in his career comes from a long path of church, folk, roots and jazz music. He still currently plays, primarily as he has always done, as a freelance bass player/sideman largely within Jazz and RnB bands in and round Melbourne but also has keen interests in Country, Western Swing, Classic New Orleans Jazz, Mainstream and Contemporary Jazz, as well as the current resurgence in Gypsy Jazz.

Other bands featuring Howard include The Dancehall Racketeers, Ross Hannaford Trio, Allan Browne’s Rascals, James Sherlock Trio, Michelle Nicole Quartet, Andy Cowan Band, Way Out West, The Date Brothers, Warren Earl’s Atomic Rockers and Adam Simmons’ Origami Trio.

In a deliberate move towards making sense of Howard’s musical past, Compression is a distilling of years of playing and interests into strong musical compositions. His first CD Newell Waltz was released on the Jazzhead label in 2009.

Compression has a similar instrumental line up and has elements of Howard’s interests in Calypso, Milonga, Waltz and odd time signatures.

Launching the CD precisely where it was recorded, in the historic 3LO building of the present-day Kelvin Club, enhances the occasion with some rich Melbourne musical history.


*The camel had either gone walkabout or was well hidden, but I swear it was there during the Melbourne International Jazz Festival in 2011.

THE KELVIN CLUB – SHOW STARTS 8:30PM TICKETS $15/$10 – Tickets available at the door