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Jeremy Rose Chiba | The Vampires Garfish | The Vampires Chellowdene | The Vampires South CoastingCompass Abrazo TangoJeremy Rose Quartet LiveThe Strides The Strides

Chiba (Earshift)

Chiba Album Cover


John McBeath – The Australian, Nov 21-22 2009
4/5 stars

Sydney saxophonist and composer, Jeremy Rose, winner of the 2009 Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year, leads this Australian-Norwegian project through a diverse collection of his innovative compositions. Guitarist Kim Johannessen and bassist Adrian Myhr are the Norwegian players, and Sydney drummer Alex Masso completes the quartet. Rose and Masso work together elsewhere, especially well in jazz-reggae group the Vampires and last year’s acclaimed release South Coasting.

Several of these new tracks have evolved from rhythmic post-bop styles, notably Digression, with its alto and guitar in unison theme statement, but a different styling arrives with abstract tempo changes and thoughtful solos that are cameos of relaxation and restraint. There is a cool Nordic atmosphere throughout where high-energy pyrotechnics are unnecessary; instead there’s a serenity that often swings in its own way, even in waltz time on Oslo Solo. Other tracks eschew rhythms altogether: Avant Garden is soundscape featuring a beautifully bowed double bass, a guitar backdrop and percussive effects for Rose’s dreamy alto. I Saw Blue then White opens with transcendent sounds leading into a commanding Spanish-influence alto passage fronting the trio’s textural wash. The Pheonix is the most groove-based piece, with flying guitar plus an insistent substructure and smart chordal solo from Myhr’s bass.


John Shand – The Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 20 2009
4/5 stars

With their snaking melodies and switch-back rhythms, Jeremy Rose’s compositions stand out from the pack, carrying little echoes of Mark Simmonds’ peerless work. The Sydneysider spent six months in Oslo last year, recording eight fascinating tunes with his compadre, drummer Alex Masso, and two Norwegians; guitarist Kim Johannesen and bassist Adrian Myhr. Rose’s alto saxophone is often a blithe-sounding device that skates across the melodies and occasionally digs into a grittier idea. Johannesen’s guitar is also an instrument of levitation and the lightness of the lead instruments lends a disquieting poignancy to the darker pieces. Masso has a self-effacing way of astutely orchestrating the textures.


Jazznytt (Norway)
Tor Hammerø

…kjemien stemmer perfekt
the chemistry is perfect

Dette møtet mellom høykompetente og søkende unge sjeler forteller oss altså at jazz er et grenseløst uttrykk – bokstavelig talt.

This meeting between highly competent and searching young souls tells us that jazz is an illimitable expression – literally.


Peter Wockner – Limelight Magazine, Previously published in Feb 2010

***1/2

Chiba represents a Sydney/Oslo project for the debut of the alto saxophonist’s wry compositions. These sounds seem to thrive untouched like spikey weeds in the barren environment of a median strip. Forming the quartet are guitarist Kim Johannesen and bassist Adrian Myhr while Sydney drummer Alex Masso provides colour splashes and splays of taunting tension between the spatial crevices created by guitar and bass. Rose shows us subtle glimpses of a marvelous technique and plays with the restraint of a mature master. Johannsesen might be a monster with the axe elsewhere but his talent shown here is firmly grounded in emotional control.

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Aidan Roberts – Tuesday, 23 February 2010

***1/2

Jeremy Rose is one of those curiously old-fashioned jazz players – his wheezing alto sax recalls the boisterous musical brews of Coltrane and Hancock, while maintaining a sense of melody in his compositions that echoes the bygone era of melodic blues; The Blessing could be from Gershwin’s catalogue, a brooding and lithe lament. Things get a little weirder with Hooray For Fish,, with Kim Johannesen’s guitar distorting, cracking, splitting harmonics to Rose’s urgent wailing. There is a touch of the lyrical in the beautiful Oslo Solo, where Rose explores the lower range of his instrument with almost bewitching expertise. All of these pieces were recorded in Norway; having said that there is a wintry, European spareness to the sound of the record, and Rose’s rhythm section Adrian Myhr (double bass) and Alex Masso (drums) play as though intoxicated by cold. All these ingredients combine to make a sleepy, beguiling collection of works of genuinely intriguing jazz – there is not too much riffery and just enough verve; and a fantastic restraint to the whole thing that makes it worth several listens just to pick up the little details.

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The Vampires – Garfish (Earshift)

John McBeath – The Australian MARCH 24 2012

THIS third album from young Sydney quartet the Vampires continues the group’s musical advancement, investigation of latin rhythms, and masterful compositions by altoist Jeremy Rose and trumpeter Nick Garbett.

Rose in particular is rapidly gathering further high acclaim and awards. With the same personnel and guest artists — trombonist Shannon Barnett and percussionist Fabian Hevia — as the 2010 recording Chellowdene, this new one sounds definitely Caribbean-based in style.

Rose’s Haiti opens with an infectious Carib rhythm established by Hevia’s percussion, Alex Masso’s drumkit and Alex Boneham’s mobile bass, then uses the three-horn front line in an authentic Haitian blend of Afro-Cuban, French, and Spanish influences injected with a jazz feel.

It’s the longest track at eight minutes and includes a skilled, joyously swinging, stuttering trombone solo. Strugglin’ features wonderful solos from, first, Rose’s clever, bluesy-latino alto plus quick runs, followed by a precise, slightly sedate trumpet ending in a downward growl, to conclude in inventive drum exchanges with the two riffing horns.

While many tracks use post-bop themes blended with latin rhythms, Life in the Fast Lane is the most representative of those ideas, moving through changing tempos and altering moods with alto and trumpet voiced against faster-moving bass and accented drums, ending in an unexpected, faintly mariachi passage. Garfish is a fine addition to the Vampires’ collection of evolving originality.

Rating: 4 stars


Review by John Shand – Sydney Morning Herald – 12 August 2012

The Vampires are sinking their teeth deeper into something all their own. The Sydney band’s breezy Caribbean-flavoured rhythms grow ever more relaxed, courtesy of bassist Alex Boneham, drummer Alex Masso and guest percussionist Fabian Hevia. Meanwhile, the harmonies between Jeremy Rose’s alto saxophone and Nick Garbett’s trumpet become ever-more wistful. It is this juxtaposition of blitheness and pensiveness that really sets the band apart. Sometimes the horns have a solemnity usually associated with brass bands, even as the bass and drums caper around on those sparse, reggae-tinged rhythms. Elsewhere the horns amplify the undercurrent of sheer fun. The soloing is consistently strong, including Shannon Barnett’s trombone contributions.

rating: 3 1/2 stars


Review by John HardakerhThe Orange Press – March 28 2012

Frank Zappa’s famous dictum of “Jazz is not dead; it just smells funny” was made at a time when Jazz had left the listener behind, cordoning itself off with fences of impenetrable theory and barbed wire tangles of unlistenable mathematics. Artists like Anthony Braxton, who named many of his compositions with symbols and numbers, chose to forget entirely about that function of music that activates the body below the cerebellum. The only way out seemed through fusing with rock, blues, funk and other, more vigorous mongrel-like musics.

Even though Jazz ultimately found its way again, it still intermittently reinvigorates itself by sucking on the funky, vital blood of other, more populist musics now and again – check current shining light Robert Glasper’s incorporation of hip-hop and urban favours into his Jazz, or our own D.I.G who mixed up House and Jazz so successfully in the 90s.

Sydney’s Vampires have long mixed reggae (Marley et al plus the Ethiopian skank of the great Mulatu Astatke and such) and African funk into their brew. Featuring compositions from altoist Jeremy Rose and trumpeter Nick Garbett their sound is beautifully open and spry – with no chordal instrument (piano or guitar) to thicken the sound, this allows the band to not only keep the jazzheads happy with some curly chromaticism in the solos, but helps the rest of us shake our asses to the surefooted grooves driven by Alex’s Boneham (bass) and Masso (drums).

Their prior releases – 2008’s South Coasting and Chellodene from 2009 – were hugely successful, pushing The Vampires out into the festival circuit and painting grins on the faces of all who heard them. The new one, Garfish is more of the same, thank God (and Ornette Coleman).

The title track opener, Nick Garbett’s ‘Garfish’ walks in with a beautifully assured reggae stroll – the band, augmented by trombonist Shannon Barnett, moves between reggae, New Orleans march music and a joyous free-blown Dixieland section. Chilean percussionist Fabian Hevia introduces ‘Haiti’ and we are off into a Randy Weston-style Afrogroove. The ingredients are thrown in, the gumbo mix swirls and the album unfolds like a feast.

Much of this material was developed at the 2011 Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music under the direction of US trumpeter Dave Douglas – a musician known for eschewing genres and elitism: a righteous man, in other words.

The calypso of ‘Dragon Del Sur’, the relaxed Cuban jump of Rose’s ‘Antipodean Love Song’ – it all reminds me of John McLaughlin’s statement that “all music is World music” – we all live in the World, don’t we? The Vampires take what they want and use what they want, to great effect.

And it is this which makes Garfish such a satisfying album – the solos and ideas are what is best about Jazz: adventurous, poetic, free and soulful; but the grooves and good humour here are also as valid as any other element. Seventy years ago, Jazz used to make the best dance records – in 2012, The Vampires make equally irresistible dance music. Garfish will have you shaking your ass while bright jungle flowers grow between your ears.

Frank Zappa’s famous dictum of “Jazz is not dead; it just smells funny” was made at a time when Jazz had left the listener behind, cordoning itself off with fences of impenetrable theory and barbed wire tangles of unlistenable mathematics. Artists like Anthony Braxton, who named many of his compositions with symbols and numbers, chose to forget entirely about that function of music that activates the body below the cerebellum. The only way out seemed through fusing with rock, blues, funk and other, more vigorous mongrel-like musics.

Even though Jazz ultimately found its way again, it still intermittently reinvigorates itself by sucking on the funky, vital blood of other, more populist musics now and again – check current shining light Robert Glasper’s incorporation of hip-hop and urban favours into his Jazz, or our own D.I.G who mixed up House and Jazz so successfully in the 90s.

Sydney’s Vampires have long mixed reggae (Marley et al plus the Ethiopian skank of the great Mulatu Astatke and such) and African funk into their brew. Featuring compositions from altoist Jeremy Rose and trumpeter Nick Garbett their sound is beautifully open and spry – with no chordal instrument (piano or guitar) to thicken the sound, this allows the band to not only keep the jazzheads happy with some curly chromaticism in the solos, but helps the rest of us shake our asses to the surefooted grooves driven by Alex’s Boneham (bass) and Masso (drums).

Their prior releases – 2008’s South Coasting and Chellodene from 2009 – were hugely successful, pushing The Vampires out into the festival circuit and painting grins on the faces of all who heard them. The new one, Garfish is more of the same, thank God (and Ornette Coleman).

The title track opener, Nick Garbett’s ‘Garfish’ walks in with a beautifully assured reggae stroll – the band, augmented by trombonist Shannon Barnett, moves between reggae, New Orleans march music and a joyous free-blown Dixieland section. Chilean percussionist Fabian Hevia introduces ‘Haiti’ and we are off into a Randy Weston-style Afrogroove. The ingredients are thrown in, the gumbo mix swirls and the album unfolds like a feast.

Much of this material was developed at the 2011 Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music under the direction of US trumpeter Dave Douglas – a musician known for eschewing genres and elitism: a righteous man, in other words.

The calypso of ‘Dragon Del Sur’, the relaxed Cuban jump of Rose’s ‘Antipodean Love Song’ – it all reminds me of John McLaughlin’s statement that “all music is World music” – we all live in the World, don’t we? The Vampires take what they want and use what they want, to great effect.

And it is this which makes Garfish such a satisfying album – the solos and ideas are what is best about Jazz: adventurous, poetic, free and soulful; but the grooves and good humour here are also as valid as any other element. Seventy years ago, Jazz used to make the best dance records – in 2012, The Vampires make equally irresistible dance music. Garfish will have you shaking your ass while bright jungle flowers grow between your ears.

 

 


The Vampires – Chellowdene (Earshift)

John McBeath – The Australian April 3-4 2010

Following the success of this young Sydney quartet’s recording ‘South Coasting’ from 2008, and their saxophonist/composer Jeremy Rose’s 2009 Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist, this new album comes with considerable credibility. Rose wrote most of the tracks and trumpeter Nick Garbett has contributed three. The Vampires manage to play contemporary jazz and at the same time include aspects of traditional reggae, South American music and occasional references to the recent past with echoes of Bernie McGann and The Catholics. Rose’s composition “Balkan Dance” uses a mid-Eastern modality in an unexpected tango rhythm plus thoughtful solos from alto and trumpet in a truly cross-cultural production. Melbourne virtuoso trombonist Shannon Barnett makes a couple of guest appearances and delivers a powerhouse solo against South American riffs and rhythms in “There’s More To Life Than Being A Vampire,” with another guest, Fabian Hevia’s percussion. Alex Boneham on double bass together with Alex Masso on drums play important roles throughout, particularly in a crisp Latino piece “Chellowdene,” with a quick bass solo and smart alto and trumpet work on a catchy, but tricky theme. “Red Head” features a sagging, dragged out, almost tempo-less post-bop theme on trumpet and alto and vivid ornamentation from bass and drums. With varied and superior compositions played with verve, high ability and inspiration, The Vampires have produced another distinguished album


John Shand - Sydney Morning Herald Metro, Friday 19 2010
4/5 stars

Were the Vampires a drink they’d be a fizzy one. Not only is there refreshing air around every note, but this air seems to be rising. It helps that the rhythms are often rooted in reggae, with all the space that implies in Alex Boneham’s bass parts and Alex Masso’s drumming. Much of the effect, however, is due directly to the sounds and lines of trumpeter Nick Garbett and alto saxophonist Jeremy Rose, who are ideally matched in their ability to interweave cheerfulness and fragility. when they want the sound fattened, they add trombonist Shannon Barnett; denser bead to those rising bubbles, Fabian Hevia joins on percussion. A delight.


 The Vampires - South Coasting (Jazzgroove)

Roger Mitchell – Sunday Herald Sun, February 17 2008

***1/2

In short: Sink your teeth into these Vampires. WHAT a pity these four young musicians, who’ve been together for three years in Sydney, do not list a gig soon in Melbourne, where this debut album was recorded last year. Shannon Barnett is a guest on five tracks, but the keys to this collection of originals are the interplays between main composers Nick Garbett (trumpet) and Jeremy Rose (alto saxophone) and, more subtly, the rhythm team of Mike Majkowski (double bass) and Alex Masso (drums). The horns grab the limelight, intuitively in accord and, as often, fencing with each other in dances that excite, provoke and soothe. The Beating Sun features extended solos and wailing harmonies, while gritty attacks make up the fiery Vampires Vamp Sesh ’06. South Coasting has a hint of reggae and Melting River builds from a beautiful melody. This enjoyable debut delights in horn players adept in celebrating their instruments’ potential.


John Clare – The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 March 2008

Much of the summer we’ve missed is on this brilliant disc. Using Latin and reggae beats teased by a superb double bass and drums team, and deploying two and sometimes three horns, the Vampires play with wit, soulful melody and invention.

The opening is horns alone in interlocking patterns that repeat and mutate along minimalist lines before the rhythm section drops in powerfully. It is irresistibly catchy. Sultry drama and mystery follow with The Beating Sun, which has horn passages reminiscent of 1960s Blue Note funky jazz. Elsewhere there are even hints of mariachi, and the solos are sometimes informed by free jazz. As with many young jazz musicians, the Vampires listen to everything and play in many contexts, yet have something immediately recognisable as their own. The horn passages are almost blithe in their effortlessly unfolding invention but real beauty and depth of feeling rise from within the sunny fun. Inspiration is another word for this combination. Young (female) Melbourne trombone star Shannon Barnett makes a guest appearance on horns beside Jeremy Rose’s alto saxophone and Nick Garbett’s biting trumpet.


John McBeath - The Australian 8 March 2008

THE Vampires are four outstanding young Sydney musicians, and they have an equally talented guest in Melbourne trombonist Shannon Barnett. These originals were composed by leader and saxophonist Jeremy Rose and trumpeter Nick Garbett, with one contribution from bassist Mike Majkowski. The Vampires are not after anyone’s blood. They just want to pump up the pulse a little, and they succeed with the track Action/Reaction. It opens with a rhythmic counterpoint figure from unaccompanied alto, trumpet and trombone, before Majkowski’s bass and Alex Masso’s drums arrive with a Latin ostinato that modulates ultimately into a reggae beat for the horns to accentuate and solo over. Most of the tracks use influences from Afro-Caribbean and South American grooves, while the piano-less structure allows greater harmonic freedom for the soloists. Perhaps it’s the Latin rhythms, but some of these pieces sound faintly repetitious. Nevertheless, there are fine solos from everyone and interesting, often polyrhythmic, arrangements.


Roger Mitchell - The Sun Herald Sun September 5, 2010

3.5 stars

THE Vampires’ debut album, South Coasting, was a horn-lover’s feast, with Jeremy Rose (alto sax) and Nick Garbett (trumpet) jousting and joining delightfully and guest Shannon Barnett (trombone) adding warmth and depth on five of 11 tracks.

Chellowdene has a lighter, brighter feel, with Barnett sitting in on only two of nine Rose and Garbett originals. Alex Masso stays on drums, Alex Boneham replaces Mike Majkowski on double bass and Fabian Hevia provides percussion. Latin, salsa and reggae influences help lift the spirits and rich horn harmonies are balm for the soul. Lovers of soulful lament can find it in Red Head and Balkan Dance. The Vampires’ melodic horns are tasty, but let’s hear more meat from Barnett’s ‘bone.

 


Compass – Oneirology Suite (live review)

Compass points in multiple musical directions!

Michael Webb

Sydney Conservatorium of Music for Jazz Planet

Australia is evolving a rich saxophone culture, with a wealth of virtuoso players and eminent teachers as well as a number of first class quartets currently performing and recording around the country. One of the most musically appealing of these is Compass, a jazz-classical unit that boasts an acclaimed Tango recording from a year or two ago and a new CD collaboration with Sydney Hindustani musicians on tabla, vocals and sitar. Lest you think this obscure, the quartet has crossed over and looped around to bring together several art music and improvisational traditions and pulled off another feat – a sound that is poignant and sensual, tune-laden and imminently listenable in the way it melds tonality and timbre.

On Sunday 29th January the saxophone quartet Compass with pianist Jackson Harrison presented a 50-minute set at St Luke’s Hall, Enmore, as part of the 2012 Kinetic Jazz Festival. Jeremy Rose, the creative force behind Compass, is quietly developing into a significant Australian musical voice – on this occasion Compass premiered his 30-minute suite, Oneirology – the study of dreams for saxophone quartet and piano.

Compass opened its Festival set with ‘Passion’ then played ‘Elegance’, pieces from its CD Abrazo Tango. Here the quartet was able to sound like an impressively large bandoneon, just as on its ‘Indian CD’, Ode to an auto rickshaw, it calls to ear an oversized yet subtle harmonium or shruti box. Oneirology followed – a four- movement work cleverly using Inception, Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film on dream invasion, as a point of inspirational reference. In its refusal to go over known or safe territory, Oneirology provided further evidence of the breadth of Rose’s musical imagination.

The suite sections were titled ‘Daydream’, ‘Subconscious’, ‘Dream within a dream’, and ‘De?ja? vu’, and Rose with his four other players led the audience through stimulating pieces that subtly blended his study of and love for the music of composers Feldman, Wayne Shorter, Scriabin, Debussy, Maria Schneider and Dvorak. Contrasting textures delicate and dense, and sounds tonal and dissonant with shifting colourations, Oneirology is an architecturally sustained and resolved dissertation on dreaming that was expertly rendered by all players. During composed and improvised sections, pianist Jackson Harrison was given scope to impress, and he sparkled on the Stuart & Sons piano. ‘Dream within a dream’ was particularly harrowing, as was that particular scene in Nolan’s film. (That said, knowing the film is not a prerequisite to appreciating Rose’s work.)

Compass succeeds on its combination of strengths, technical and compositional, yet as a saxophone quartet what sets it apart and makes it so listenable is that each player has quite a contrasting approach to tone and articulation. Hence, the quartet is not as demandingly ‘jazzy’ as SNAP, say, nor as insistently ‘classical’ as Continuum. Rose capitalizes on this in his writing and complements it with a knack for choosing thrilling musical collaborators.

Compass is a five star Australian music ensemble that demands to be offered a conservatory or university residency! It deserves a prominent billing at major music festivals, here and abroad. It has much to teach aspiring reed players, composers and improvisers. It models virtuosity, boldness of vision, chamber music delicacy, compositional accessibility, and a savvy interaction with music history and global traditions. Jeremy Rose has discovered how to merge distinct audiences: he creates contemporary Australian music that bridges new and traditional art music, incorporates world cultural streams, and in the case of Oneirology, also makes productive reference to contemporary cinema.

 


Compass – Abrazo Tango (Tall Poppies)

David Dupont – Cadence Oct-Dec 2010

The Australian saxophone quartet Compass offers its own trills … the baritone saxophone pounces on an iconic tango ostinato and the winds make like birds in Argentina. Joined by accordion player Marco Maio and guitarist Julian Curwin, Compass offers up a full set of tango originals. True to the spirit of the New Tango, these stretch the form from its roots as dancehall music to a more concert oriented sound. The scores—two by Maio and a suite each by Curwin and alto saxophonist Rose—are uniformly lush, more classical saxophone quartet than big band section. The sound never veers far from the tango verities, and all the melodies have the sound of something heard before, yet the arrangements are unfailingly entertaining. Maio’s “Tango One” is particularly intriguing with its splashes of sound and rough-neck sense of romance epitomized by a passionate tenor solo by Ottignon that summons the spirit of Gato Barbieri. Baritone saxophonist Luke Gilmour deserves a special nod for delivering such a fat and sure foundation. Maio’s accordion blends like another saxophone. Each of the saxophonists—including Leonard on soprano—has a say. The solos, though, emerge more from the ensemble, except on “Tango One.” I never sensed the soloists stepping out into the spotlight. Curwin’s concluding suite hews more to the traditional side, save for the brief largo. His writing favors more staccato articulation, barking at times. He opens up the last movement for solos from Maio and saxophonists Rose and Ottignon. It’s a fine conclusion to a session by musicians who celebrate the tango in their own voices.


Craig Dabelstein - Music Forum January 2010

In the mid- to late-1900s, bandoneón player and composer Astor Piazzolla took the tango out of the brothel and put it onto the concert stage, and in doing so created the nuevo tango style that blended elements of jazz, western classical music and the traditional tango-music for the feet became music for the ears. Since then, the nuevo tango style and the music of Piazzolla have become incredibly popular (Arnazon.com lists more than 1200 recordings that feature the music of Piazzolla in some form). Saxophone quartet Compass have embraced the nuevo tango style for this release and have expanded their lineup to include accordion player Marcello Maio and guitarist Julian Curwin (from Monsieur Camembert and The Fantastic Terrific Munkie fame).

The repertoire on this CD is all composed by the ensemble members: Miao contributes two works (“Tango Deu” and “Tango One), alto saxophonist Jeremy Rose contributes “Tango Suite”, and guitarist Curwin contributes “They Know Not What They Do”. Far from being a matter of these performers doing a bit of composing “on the side”, the compositions on this album are sophisticated and entertaining: Rose’s “Tango Suite” and Curwin’s “They Know Not What They Do” are each nearly twenty minutes long: these are not insignificant works for quartet.

Highlights include the third movement of Jeremy Rose’s “Tango Suite” – Julian Curwin’s brilliant guitar effects create an ambience not usually heard on saxophone quartet recordings. The third movement of Curwin’s composition features an acoustic guitar solo by the composer that adds great contrast to the saxophones.

The performers on this recording are outstanding and the calibre you would expect from any ensemble that includes Christina Leonard, one of the best saxophonists in the country, The ensemble playing is generally tight; the tone is (deliberately) not the same as if the quartet were playing standard French repertoire. The ensemble is energetic, the tone bracing, even raucous at times – but this is what the tango is about. This is music with passion, not an etude by Bozza!

As a classically trained saxophonist I am generally highly critical of saxophone quartet music. Like any recording of homogenous instruments (choirs, string quartets, brass quintets), seventy minutes of the same timbre can be tiresome on the ear: however, this album benefits greatly from the inclusion of the accordion and the guitar to give the ear another timbre to enjoy. This is very necessary as the album has the added problem of all the music being in the one style. To some listeners, after the first five minutes, the whole album will sound the same (regardless of the talent of the performers). But to those who appreciate good compositions and great playing, this album will not disappoint.


Joy Mestroni - Jazz Action Society February 2010

So many saxes, so much time, these musicians work so well together. It’s great to hear a sax quartet! Put them together with piano and guitar and it’s magic. As for the tango, it is the music of romance. All originals, executed with precision, a delight for the ears! Altoist Jeremy Rose composed the wonderful four part Tango Suite and Julian Curwin the four part They know not what they do. There’s drama and intrigue and frivolity. I remember watching Ross Maio in my youth at Italian functions marvelling at his skill playing the piano accordion. Of course, his partner Robyn, as they say, did the same only in heels! Its wonderful to listen to the progression of his son Marcello. He plays like a dream, and has written some superb pieces of music. Tango Deu and Tango One. What a recording; this is really worth listening to!


John Shand - Sydney Morning Herald 21.3.09

This music casts a double-strength spell. Not only does it have the irresistible appeal of tango but it contains some brilliantly imaginative writing and intriguing arranging for a saxophone quartet. The intrigue is partly due to having two classical saxophonists in Christina Leonard (soprano, alto) and Luke Gilmour, (baritone), joined by two jazz saxophonists in Jeremy Rose (alto) and Matthew Ottignon (tenor), with the consequent juxtapositions of tonal quality and approach. The upshot is a fattened collective sound, further expanded by accordionist Marcello Maio and guitarist Julian Curwin. The superb pieces have been composed within the band and, in the tradition of Astor Piazzolla’s ‘nuevo tango’, stretch the rhythms to (back-)breaking point. The horns, meanwhile, curl around one another in dramatic precision, or explode in joyous or sultry improvisation. The whole is cushioned – and made more accessible – by the svelte guitar and swelling opulence of the accordion.


Jeremy Rose Quartet (Live)

John Shand – Sydney Morning Herald, 25 October 2007

…Rose’s compositions being more interesting the more they strayed from the jazz tradition. His soprano saxophone playing was especially fluent, melodic and intense…


The Strides – The Strides (Earshift)

Paris Pompor – Sydney Morning Herald – 3 1/2 stars, 26 March 2010

You’d be forgiven for mistaking this as new LP for the Resurrectors. Both Sydney bands have a whole lot of soul and an affable dub swagger – a la Fat Freddy’s Drop. Both also deliver casually cool, consciousness-raising lyrics. That the always-impressive vocalist Ras Roni adds his sweet, easy tone to the two groups, only strengthens comparisons. But by track three, the Strides are shuffling on a dusty dancefoor with a hip-hop MC and kicking up bare heels for some Afrobeat unrest in Master No More and the 10-minute Fin Pistol. In Better to Love they deliver a singalong pop-reggae gem that really deserves radio support. Ha! This is Australia, dream on.