Tag Archives: Tim Stevens



Scare Quotes

4 stars

MOVING almost imperceptibly between the frisson of collective improvisations and the cues of composition, this fourth “white album” with Stevens on piano, Ben Robertson on bass and Dave Beck on drum kit is akin to the freedom of 2005’s Three Friends in Winter.

Yet this outing, recorded in a day at ABC Studios, Southbank last year, is more compelling. Textures are tangible, timbres and tempos vary and the trio’s intuitive ability to build and sustain tension, focus and hold our attention never wavers.

Whether from the gripping Wiseband and Huff, the delicate piano insistence and fine drum spatters of Dances With Jimmy or the bass melodies in Letters, Diaries, it is clear there is no need for scare quotes here.

File between: Mike Nock, Lost and Found
Download: Wiseband and Huff


This review appeared in the Play liftout of Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun on April 10, 2011, under the name Graeme Hammond, but he cannot be held responsible.



Aurora — Mark Isaacs Resurgence Band

3.5 stars

AS composer, arranger, producer and band­leader, Isaacs is considered and meticulous, which is a good description of this studio album.

Compared with the previous, more visceral live album, Tell It Like It Is, which comes as a bonus DVD in this release, Aurora has a decorative, almost embroidered feel that reflects Isaacs’ nurture.

He has James Muller play electric and acoustic guitar in Bagatelle
and Threnody, which is ornamented like fine porcelain. Robust For the
has great solos from Muller, Matt Keegan (sax) and Brett Hirst (bass), but they remain contained. The title track builds slowly, like tension before the Wet in Darwin.

The Resurgence Band here is about finesse, cohesion and intricacy rather than bold statements or stretching boundaries.

Download: For the Road, Bagatelle

File between: Tim Stevens, Keith Jarrett


This review was also published in the Play liftout of the Sunday Herald Sun on January 30, 2011

Mickets — Tim Stevens Trio

CD cover to come


TIM Stevens took the title from his son’s first stab at the word “music” and the idea of developing language suits the trio’s evolving direction. With Ben Robertson on bass and Dave Beck on drums, the pianist released Nine Open Questions in 2004 and Three Friends In Winter in 2005. Mickets extends their collaboration with a return to improvisation within written forms.
There are no surprises, but plenty of rewards for the attentive listener in these eight Stevens originals and the classical Litanies, by French organist/composer Jehan Alain. The players’ deep empathy helps to maintain an organic whole amid subtle, yet profound, changes of tempo and mood.
It’s understated, individual music, with variety and depth. In Rufus Redux there’s a relaxed intricacy, but plenty of rhythmic energy. The delicacy of Prologue-like and the sombre feel of ballads Pray Without Ceasing and The Body Desolate as a Staircase contrast with the stronger, driving piano and bass in Our Little Systems and Sly-Pie.

DOWNLOAD: Our Little Systems
FILE BETWEEN: John Taylor, Bobo Stenson