Tag Archives: Jex Saarelaht Trio

LIMINAL — JEX SAARELAHT TRIO

Liminal

CD REVIEW

4 stars

Jazzhead

Liminal opens with a closing. Saarelaht sums up Closing, written for a surgeon to whom he sent the piece, but from whom he never heard back, with the succinct subtitle “having dealt with a point infarct”. I had to look that up, but this piece feels more substantial than the eradication of “a small localised area of dead tissue resulting from failure of blood supply”.

Strength comes to mind. Its engrossing, compelling nature is fitting to open an album of Saarelaht originals that is often robust and — even in its understated parts — retains a certain directness and brawn. The composer regards it as a snapshot of the trio, formed 20 years earlier, in transition.

As in his 2010 quartet album Fiveways, with Niko Schauble on drums, Jonathan Zwartz on bass and Julien Wilson on sax, Saarelaht honours the departed. Five-nineteen is revisited for bassist Stuart Speed, Liminal is for drummer Peter Jones and Ivory Cutlery is for Scottish poet, comic author and songwriter Ivor Cutler. The album notes also mention Gil Askey, who died in April.

Liminal was also a live recording, this time at Bennetts Lane in October 2013 at the Esto-Cubist Jazz Festival and this time with Philip Rex on double bass joining Schauble and Saarelaht, the trio responsible for Fridays, Late.

This is a superb line-up. Rex’s inventive excellence is on display especially in the title track and alone in the opening of Five-nineteen, which develops swing powerful enough to qualify as a form of renewable energy. Trio members demonstrate empathy, yet preserve their independence, but the result is always cohesive.

Then Again, inspired by Andrea Keller‘s take on a Bela Bartok composition, allows Saarelaht room for expansive, yet intricate and light reflections. Splendidly laid back Ivory Cutlery again exhibits delicate finery on the keyboard followed by spacious, strong bass.

The final, and longest, track on an album that seems to end too soon, is Fiveways. It gathers intensity on a slow burn before exemplary stick work by Schauble that understandably draws applause, fades back and then gathers force again as this trio grabs and holds us in thrall until the end.

During a couple of long drives recently in remote Western Australia, Liminal was played repeatedly on the rental car stereo. It was sustaining and kept me from succumbing to sleep on the long, straight roads.

ROGER MITCHELL 

Jex Saarelaht

Jex Saarelaht at the Bennetts Lane launch of Liminal in July 2014

 

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LAST CALL: LIMINAL LAUNCH

CD launch flyer for Liminal

CD launch flyer for Liminal

LATE CALL: Jex Saarelaht Trio launches the album Liminal at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, Thursday 31 July 2014 at 8.30pm

Tonight there is still time to hear a live rendition of the new release by the Jex Saarelaht Trio, an album that comprises a set of six original pieces recorded live at the Esto-Cubist Jazz Festival, Bennetts Lane, in October last year.

Formed over 20 years ago, the trio, consisting of pianist/composer Jex Saarelaht, double bassist Philip Rex and drummer Niko Schäuble, has an association going back as far with the jazz club, which is also the location of their debut recording Fridays, Late.

On the title, Liminal, the trio’s notes explain it thus: “At the risk of undermining its significance, Jex was thinking of the idea in terms of transition, musically in relation to ambiguity and disorientation, and the development of the written piece through the input/improvisation of the musicians involved, not just in one performance, but over time. The choice of title for the piece in particular was also prompted by friend and drummer Peter Jones’s situation after his diagnosis with brain cancer in early 2011, when he entered a liminal state for quite a while. Ultimately the music here is a snapshot of the trio in a transitional moment, in between everything that has come before in their 20-years-plus together, and whatever may transpire and develop into the future.”

It’s late notice and it’s cold, but this launch will warm the cockles.

ROGER MITCHELL

Liminal is available from Jazzhead

OUR BEST BIDS TO HELP BERNIE

Bernie McGann

Bernie McGann

GIG: Benefit concert for Bernie McGann, 6.30pm to 9.30pm, Sunday, September 1, 2013, Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, organised by Melbourne Jazz Co-operative

This post is intended to help pass on details already being publicised by the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative, about a benefit concert for revered saxophonist Bernie McGann, who is recovering from illness in Sydney and needs our support. The gig is being held at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club on September 1 in conjunction with a silent auction. The word is that a similar benefit concert in Sydney recently raised about $11,000, so Melbourne has a job ahead if we are to hold out heads high.

BIDDING FOR THE SILENT AUCTION IS NOW LIVE

Bidding is now open for Prizes donated for the Silent Auction in the Bernie McGann Benefit.

Bidding in the silent auction being held in conunction with the Bernie McGann Benefit Concert in Melbourne is now open. To make an online bid, send an email to the MJC at melbournejazzcooperative@gmail.com with the subject “McGann Silent Auction” and your full name, the item number and your bid in the body of the email. Live bids can also be made at the event on Sunday night until 9:30pm. Winners will be notified at the close of the event (if at the venue) and via email on the evening of September 2nd.

ITEM 1:
Melbourne Jazz Festival’s Golden Pass (value $1,000),
– 2 tickets to the Gala Opening
– 2 tickets to a Modern Masters of Jazz
– 2 tickers to a Explorations in Jazz show
– 2 tickets to a Club Session
– Priority entry into The Cave (MIJF late night program)
– Reserved seating at the MIJF Masterclass Series
– Reserved seating at the MIJF In Conversation Series

The value of this Golden Pass is worth over $1,000 in tickets and services.
The shows chosen in the above pass will be up to the discretion of MIJF

ITEM 2:
Day’s Recording Session at Pughouse Studios, Northcote (value $600)

ITEM 3:
Gold Pass for this year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues (value $350)
The Gold Pass provides entry to all venues from Friday to Monday night PLUS: VIP seating at all WPAC shows, the Festival Launch Cocktail Party at the Gateway on Friday evening and the Cup Eve Concert on the Monday night.

ITEM 4:
Bundle of 10 McGann albums on Rufus Records, including Ugly Beauty, McGann McGann, Bundeena, Live at Side On, Playground, Kindred Spirits, Wending, Double Dutch, Solar, Blues for Pablo Too (value $250)

ITEM 5:
5 CD albums on JazzHead, including Andrea Keller Quartet and Sam Keever Nonet albums featuring McGann (value $130)

ITEM 6:
5 CD albums by Julian Wilson’s groups: Assumptions2, Departures by Assumptions, Festa, Trio-Live,
Kaleidoscopic (value $125)

ITEM 7:
Australian Jazz Real Book, edited by Dr. Tim Nikolsky (value $100)

ITEM 8:
Three framed photographs of Bernie McGann by Roger Mitchell (value $150 each)

ITEM 9:
Gold Pass for the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative’s 2014 season (value $75)

ITEM 10:
3 CD albums by Niko Schauble: Tibetan Dixie, Night Music, Red Earth/White Snow (value $75)

ITEM 11:
2 Victorian Jazz Archive albums of the JazzArt recordings: The Progressives 2 & 3 (value $50)

ITEM 12:
Stephen Magnusson’s Bell-winning “Magnet” LP (value $30)

Both Rufus Records (Bernie’s main label) and JazzHead will be selling stock on the night, with a good percentage of profits going to Bernie.

Copies of all 10 McGann albums on Rufus Records (including Ugly Beauty, McGann McGann, Bundeena, Live at Side On, Playground, Kindred Spirits, Wending, Double Dutch, Solar, Blues for Pablo Too) will be on sale at the special price of $20 each at the Benefit.

Additional copies of the Australian Jazz Real Book will also be sold for $100 each), as well as some other CDs and LPs by local artists.

BERNIE MCGANN BENEFIT LINE-UP

 The line-up  for the Jazz Lab gig ($20 & $15 concession) now includes Paul Grabowsky (solo piano), Italian saxophonist Mirko Guerrini, and Wilbur Wilde.

They will join an impressive line-up of leading Melbourne jazz artists (plus Perth’s Jamie Oehlers) with the confirmed artists including Julien Wilson, Allan Browne, Ian Chaplin, David Rex, Ken Schroder, Jex Saarelaht Trio, Bopstretch, Phil Noy, Philip Rex, Niko Schauble, and Sam Bates, among others.

Allan Browne (drums), Phil Rex (bass) and Phil Noy (alto sax) will open the concert by playing some of Bernie’s tunes (as will Julien Wilson and Boplicity).

ROGER MITCHELL

(using information provided by Melbourne Jazz Co-operative)