It is not the first time Kevin Haines and Dixon Nacey have recorded together and I hope it won’t be the last. There is a symmetry binding these musicians, one born of respectful dialogue between generations. Both are well-established and neither has anything to prove. When the stars align in this way, the conditions are right for intimate conversations and that is what we get here. In a departure from their earlier trio albums with Samsom (Cross Now and Oxide), there are a number of standards here, which are balanced by originals composed by the pair. From the swinging rendition of ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ to the Nacey original , ‘Sco’, the album establishes the depth of its conversational credentials.
It is surprisingly rare to come across ‘standards’ gigs these days as new music is in the ascendency. It was at such a gig that I first saw Nacey, Haines and friends, play these lovely tunes, vehicles that have stood the test of time. In a quieter moment during the second set, they played Herb Ellis’s Detour Ahead. It was extremely well realised and I thought at the time; these guys should record a few standards as their interpretations bring something fresh to bear.
The album arose from a MAINZ project and there is an irony in that MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) is considering closing the school. That would be shameful and a disservice to the wider community. There has seldom been a time in human history when we need the arts as much as in the present times. This is especially so with music which can guide, calm, challenge and interpret life’s vicissitudes. The pandemic, however, has given cover to the philistines and everyone from Councils to Academic institutes is wielding a destructive knife.
The album was self-released and is available on streaming platforms. If you type ‘Dixon Nacey & Kevin Haines, Conversations’ into your search bar you’ll find it. Past and present sit comfortably here and a touch of nostalgia is always welcome in troubled times like these.
JazzLocal32.com is rated as one of the 50 best Jazz Blogs in the world by Feedspot. The author is a professional member of the Jazz Journalists Association, a Judge in the 7VJC International Jazz Competition, and a poet & writer. Some of these posts appear on other sites with the author’s permission.