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Album of the moment

by Tony Roma
posted 08/02/2010

Eastside’s album for February 2010

Bernie McGann – “Solar”

There are plenty of thrilling solar flairs in this complete live performance, recorded with energy and ecstatic crowd reactions intact. Who is the sergeant major who shouts “Yes! Yes sir!” through the second set? He is often at The Sound Lounge. On this special double CD you are too.

When superb tenor saxophonist Roger Manins made one of his return trips from New Zealand to Sydney, his second home, he was asked if he wanted to play as guest with the great Bernie McGann Quartet. ‘Bernie is my hero’, he replied. And both saxophonists are right up there throughout this performance. Their solos are tough, fiery and inventive and their overlapping lines are like heated conversations.

And so is the superb rhythm team of bassist Lloyd Swanton and drummer John Pochée up there. Free, interactive, erupting in all the right places, pulsing and driving at all times: a curious pairing of personalities who have given us some of the most exciting music of the past twenty years.

This is also some of the very best of trumpeter Warwick Alder on record. His flying runs, high torrid repetitions and surprise skips and jabs are deployed with a feverish edge.

There are some great McGann tunes and everything you could want from a live jazz performance: the McGann originals — Birthday Blues, Spirit Song, D. Day, Blues for Pablo Too and Salaam – and a Ballad Medley — Lover Man (Oh, where can you be?) Jimmy Davis, Roger ‘Ram’ Ramirez, Jimmy Sherman, Where are you? Jimmy McHugh, My Old Flame Arthur Johnston, Sam Coslow.

To find out more, visit Rufus Records

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