THE WEST SIDE COMPOSERS COLLECTIVE                                                                           Driving Hat                                                                                                                                Pinnacles PM 0208

Shannon Marshall – tpt; Mikael Strand – tbn; Mark Spencer – as; Rafael Karlin – ts, fl, comp/arr; Graeme Norris – bs; Steve Newcomb – pno; James Sherlock – gtr; Georgia Weber – bass; Joe Marchisella – dms; Megan Washington – vo (5); Hannah Macklin – vo (1). Brisbane, QLD – 31 Jan/1Feb, 2008.

Driving Hat/Introduction to Ten Years/Ten Years/Collee Dancing/Water and Time/Curve/Eat Better, Sleep More/Abstract Gloom/Five For Now/Ballad for Songs and Places. [TT: 60:00]

There is now a dedicated digital jazz station from the national broadcaster here in Australia (ABC) that can be picked up on the internet: I get it as part of our carrier’s “free ware”… not bad, eh?! A piece from this CD was in rotation and when I saw a copy in a used record store, I picked it up. I’m glad that I did. This is a younger band from Brisbane that was created to play original material (much of it created specifically for the band) and play it well. I cannot think of an apt comparison at this moment for the group’s performances, these folks are VERY good at creating an hour’s worth of impressionistic musical washes and textures, as well as meaningful improvisations. And they know how to swing!

This particular CD is all pieces by reed-man member Rafael Karlen who is capable of fine usage of the musicians available to put down some memorable themes. Supported by both the Australian Council for the Arts, and The Foundation for Young Australians [tax dollars well-spent!], this is as creative and thrilling an improvising/jazz organization as one will find. Maybe a younger generation equivalent to Ten Part Invention with tinges of Gil Evans? Whatever, this (their second album) is well worth searching out – this music we all love is in good hands, alive and well in Queensland (“The Deep North”). Great soli (or is it solos?!) from one and all, this one will go into my iTunes as soon as this review is finished! Recommended, especially if one has BIG ears and can go in without pre-conceived ideas as to what one may hear. As Duke Ellington is supposed to have said, “There’s two kinds of music… good music, and the other kind.” This is definitely NOT the other kind, but good to the last drop! And I’ll try and track down a copy of their previous release, too!


For information about the band, and how to obtain the albums, go to:                                                   

or mail to:                                                                                                                                      Pinnacles Music                                                                                                                                 P.O. Box 3133                                                                                                                                   South Brisbane BC                                                                                                                            QLD 4101                                                                                                                                                           AUSTRALIA

published: IAJRC JOURNAL; Vol 43, No 1; March, 2010 – p. 63.

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