It is well-known on the New Zealand Jazz scene that Resonator won this years ‘Jazz Tui’ award. As this is drummer Reuben Bradley’s first album that is no mean feat. The band played at the CJC earlier in the week as part of their Australasian tour and pulled a good audience for the gig.
The band we saw on Wednesday did not have the full complement of band members present on the album, as the pianist Miles Crayford who had played piano, Fender Rhodes & synth had been replaced by guitarist Tyson Smith. Also absent were guest artists Tom Callwood (arco bass), James Illingworth (synth) and Kirsten Te Rito (vocals).
This was a paired down hard-driving unit and they took the high energy, high volume route. The band was: Reuben Bradley (drums, percussion), Mostyn Cole (electric bass), Roger Manins (tenor saxophone) Tyson Smith (guitar). It was also obvious that this was a drummers band because Reuben seemed to direct all aspects of the music; the band taking their cues from the complex rhythms he was laying down. I had heard much about his ascendancy as a drummer and his chops were certainly evident at this gig. He was also an engaging presence as he bantered with the audience. Jazz musicians are capable of delivering knock out one liners, self-deprecating asides and sly insider jokes from the bandstand. I am happy to see that tradition continue at the CJC.
While most of the pieces swiftly morphed into full-on blowing numbers there was one ballad. In situations like this a band could not do better than call on Roger Manins to execute the key lines and he delivered in spades. Reuben introduced the number by saying, ” I had always wanted to write a dark evil sounding ballad because I figured that there was a real market for this”. This number ‘Search in progress’ gave us an insight into the subtler aspects of the band’s repertoire.
Every Kiwi (and offshore) Jazz fan should contact ‘Rattle Records’ http://www.rattlejaz.com and purchase the ‘Resonator’ album. It can also be purchased at ‘Marbecks Records’, ‘Slow Boat Records’ and ‘Parsons Records & Books’ and is available as a download on iTunes. ‘Rattle Records Ltd.’ are to be congratulated for their burgeoning catalogue of top quality NZ Jazz and I urge all Jazz lovers to support this label. It must be pleasing to the band that Mike Nock has praised the group. He saw this album as being ample evidence that “The new generation of New Zealand Jazz musicians have moved up several notches”.
After the gig I sought out Mostyn Cole the bass player to apologise for wrongly naming him as the bassist at the previous weeks gig. I could not find him but the guitarist Tyson Smith said, “It doesn’t matter man because I am credited as being in the band but I was not on the album we are touring to promote and so it all equals out”. That caused me to recall Roger Manins tongue in cheek announcement the previous week. “We believe in truth in advertising tonight and this is one of the rare examples where the people on the album are actually the people performing on the promotional tour, Get a signed copy of the CD now as this may never happen again”. Jazz humour is the best.