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Review by Nigel Patterson
Roger Manins talks about Trio
My path of growth took me from Waiuku (South Auckland) to Wellington (1990), then Sydney for seven years, New York for two and a half years, then back to Sydney for another four or five years. I returned to NZ mid 2004 for family reasons, shortly after my daughter Millicent came along.
On how the trio formed
I was based in Wellington in 2005, and was looking for musicians to form a trio. I have always love the Saxophone Trio format, and was on the lookout for players who had the potential to meet my expectations in this highly creative format, players with exceptional ears, great sound, highly creative, OPEN, great technique and firmly rooted in Jazz tradition. I also wanted people who I could get along with, who could have a joke while still being totally passionate about the music.
I first heard Mostyn at the Christchurch 2004 Jazz Festival. I sat in on a jam session with him on bass. I can still hear him now; warm sound, great ideas, feel, and ears (I don’t think he knew all the tunes that were called, but he heard the changes pretty quick). I knew then that Mostyn was the bass player I wanted to work with after that. Now I needed a drummer. One night I did a gig at the Lido, and Reuben Bradley was on drums. He played with such energy and commitment that I knew I had my man, so I got them together, and we rehearsed.
We rehearsed often many times a week all year, and did many gigs. We went to Australia twice, and played the Wangeratta international jazz festival. We played and played, and composed, and talked about the music we were making, refining and building empathy. When I play with these guys I feel at home. I feel comfortable and uncomfortable. I feel that I am playing with musicians who are listening, not just to me, but to the music. The music is our master.
On live verses studio
I like real music. I am not opposed to studio recordings, but like albums where the music was actually played in front of an audience. I don’t mind “mistakes” either — well there is no such thing — just what happened, whether you and/or the audience like it or not. I record a lot of concerts, always looking for a great night, and many are, but this one especially.
On the compositions
The music is based on compositions we had been playing for a long time (all mine except Silo by Mostyn). We sometimes play standards, and sometimes free, but on the night this is what we did!
This is a dedication to a school friend, a best friend of my brother. He died unexpectedly leaving a young family. I was thinking about him while walking to catch a bus in Wellington, and the bass line of the tune came to me. I ducked into a takeaway and wrote it down, the rest of the tune — it just happened!
An oldie but a goodie. I recorded this tune on my earlier album, Hip Flask, but it is such fun to play that we still play it in the trio. On the night it was filled with energy, and creativity, and is very different than the original.
When someone dies, you don’t forget, but your grieving eventually gives way to memories. My father had a good heart and a good sense of humour, and the melody of this tune has a lot of beauty in it.
A simple extended blues form with a lot of room to move. In this version we purposely slow down.
Mostyn got the idea (or as he delicately puts it, ripped off) for this track from a Mike Nock piece. We just play over this beautiful bass riff and let the improvisation go where it goes. By this stage of the night, Mostyn had blisters on his finders as a result of using a borrowed bass, and was swapping fingers for the plucking (or what ever they do). You can hear the pain!
Inspired by Joe Lovano - high energy, Free Jazz.
This recording is about interaction, energy, sounds, tension and release. Trio represents where I am coming from as an artist, and where I want to go. This is for discerning listeners who have a taste for a non-traditional creative approach to jazz.
RAT-J-1002 (July, 2010)
Recording: Steve Garden
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