Album of the Week – The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke
‘The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke’ is Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week.
The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke is the fifth album from Australian quartet The Vampires, augmented by special guests and the extraordinary Blue Note Records guitarist Lionel Loueke. The music on the album is the result of years of musical development and ambitious preparation, as the band set out to make their fifth album something different to the past four; South Coasting, Chellowdene, Garfish and Tiro. The band brought Lionel to Australia to tour and record, playing new music written for the project. Lloyd Swanton, well known as the bassist from The Necks, produced the album.
Lionel has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the jazz world, collaborating with seminal jazz figures including Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding and Herbie Hancock, who praised him as “a musical painter”. The Vampires’ co-leader and saxophonist Jeremy Rose says “Lionel effortlessly joined The Vampires, normally a chordless quartet, for this project with humility and a way of collaborating that allowed his own influence and character to come through while perfectly fitting in as a member of the band.” The Vampires have been relentlessly touring for the past 10 years throughout Australia, as well as performances in the UK, Canada and Europe. Combining risk-taking improvisation, sophisticated compositions and an uncanny sense of dialogue between the sax/trumpet frontline, the band has developed a style of its own. This collaboration with Lionel Loueke is both an honour for the band, to be working with one of the most distinctive artists of his generation, and a perfectly normal and logical part of The Vampires’ work. The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke features music composed by Jeremy Rose and Nick Garbett for this collaboration. Each has written about half of the band’s music for the past 10 years, and their compositional styles have forged the band’s sound as much as their playing has.
About the music:
‘Endings and Beginnings’ (Rose) is an improvised sketch composed by Jeremy in two parts, bookending the album. The piece is dedicated to the memory of his grandfather and the birth of his niece, both of which happened around the same time.
‘Hard Love’ (Rose) features Rose’ bass clarinet and Zwartz’s bass, opening with an riff and melody that echoes traditional Jamaican Nyabinghi music. The piece serves to remind us of how difficult but rewarding it can be to love one another, even when things seem too hard.
Freedom Song (Rose) is dedicated to the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru, Australia’s offshore detention centres. These centres are based on an unnecessary and inhumane policy of offshore processing, have been condemned by the UNHCR, Australian Human Rights Commission and others, and have been the site of riots, self immolations and incredible stress amongst the detainees. Many have been stuck on these Islands for years with no certain future, and this work serves to remember those that are incarcerated there.
‘Green Green Green’ (Garbett) is a tribute to Al Green and is Nick’s attempt to capture the aesthetic of some of Green’s music. Not a tribute to the other type of green, he swears.
‘Bendalong’ (Garbett) is a relaxed reggae feel piece by Nick inspired by the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia, and the sleepy surfing town that gives the piece its title.
‘Torta Salata’ (Garbett) is a soul-drenched tune by Nick, inspired by his love of Italy, his Italian girlfriends cooking, and the ‘salty cake’ that gives its title.
‘Suck a Seed’ (Rose) takes its title from the critically acclaimed ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ documentary on trumpeter Clark Terry, directed Jeremy and Nick’s friend and former housemate Al HIcks. The title of the piece comes from a classic Clark Terry line in the film, “If at first you don’t succeed, suck a seed!”
‘Ubud Bubble’ (Rose) is penned from an experience staying in the villages of Ubud, Bali, where the smoke filled streets waft with the sounds of Gamelan rehearsals and visitors fill the yoga retreats and massage centres. The piece conjures a sense of magic and mystery of the place, where you can literally lose all sense of time.
‘Brand New’ (Rose) is a composition inspired by the feeling of a new start at life, triggered by recent events in Jeremy’s life.
1. Endings & Beginnings pt. 1
4.Green Green Green
7.Suck a Seed
10.Endings & Beginnings pt. II
Jeremy Rose – alto & tenor sax, bass clarinet
Nick Garbett – trumpet
Lionel Loueke – guitar and vocals
Jonathan Zwartz – double bass
Danny Fischer – drums (all tracks except 3 & 5)
Alex Masso – drums (tracks 3 & 5), cajon, bongos, pandeiro, wood block, cowbells, shakers
Recorded by Tim Whitten at Rancom St Studios, Botany NSW, June 7 & 8, 2016
Mixed by Tim Whitten at 301 Studios, Sydney, August 4 & 5, 2016
Mastered by Michael Lynch
Produced by Lloyd Swanton
Cover Art by Zdenek Burian
Design by Pat Harris
You can follow the band HERE . For an extended listen to the album, tune in on Thursday from 1.30PM – 2PM for ‘Album of the Week’ with Josh Crosbie. Don’t forget to also listen out for your opportunity to win a copy of ‘The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke’ all week. You must be a supporter to win so make sure to sign up HERE. You can also stream the station HERE.