Tag Archives: Howard Cairns Quintet


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


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.



Howard Cairns Quintet's album Newell Waltz

Howard Cairns Quintet's album Newell Waltz

4 stars

WHAT a delight that double bassist Cairns, after 25 years of being a stalwart in others’ bands, chose to lead such a talented ensemble playing his compositions.

There is no chordal instrument in the line-up — Michael Jordan on drums, Stephen Grant cornet, Don Stewart trombone and Adam Simmons tenor sax — but luxuriant harmonies mingle with melodies and timbres to create moods variously dark, spirited and humorous.

In Platform 2, the horns set up a succession of resplendent echoes, the ‘bone and sax soft and sumptuous, the cornet plaintive and occasionally chattering, giving a vital edge.

Cairns, a sousaphone player who grew up on church brass bands, values the expressive power in the interplay of horns and uses it.

File between: Charlie Haden, The Vampires

Download: Platform 2, Newell Waltz