Since emerging from the shadows in the 50s, the Jazz guitar has become one of the most popular instruments with Jazz audiences. And, despite the plethora of styles appearing since then, most modern jazz guitarists defy stylistic pigeonholing. ‘Modern Ideal’ by Brisbane’s Tyler Cooney is a case in point as it is forward-looking and yet the richness of the lineage is evident as you listen. Since its release a few short months ago the album has received critical acclaim and that is not surprising. If you love jazz guitar you need to check it out.
This is an album with pleasing contrasts and moods. The title tune ‘Modern Ideal’ with its embracing warmth is gorgeous. The harmonic invention is resonant as the guitarist digs into the tune; with a melodic clarity arising out of his well-executed voice leading progressions followed by a tasteful solo, carrying with it the essence of what has gone before. This voice-leading approach is even more evident in ‘Country Sumthin’. Here we find the echoes and swing of Jazz Americana at its best, and we are left wondering if the past ever sounded quite this good.
My favourite track is ‘Wood Glue. This is where the lineage is most evident but the joy is most apparent. This has the trio blowing hard and killing it as they blaze in the moment. The album is beautifully recorded, but it is the quality of the compositions, the guitar wizardry and the interplay that make this such a fine album. It is so well realised that it is hard to believe that this is a young guitarist’s first release. What is not hard to imagine is that great things lie ahead for Cooney.
Tyler Cooney plays the guitar, on the bass is Nick Quigley and on drums is the 2012 Australian National Jazz Award-winning Tim Firth (Firth has a solid following in New Zealand after he toured with Steve Barry over a decade ago). To purchase Modern Ideal go to tylercooney.bandcamp.com
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.