Flaubert's Dance

Flaubert's Dance

Phil Broadhurst Quartet

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Phil Broadhurst (piano)
Roger Manins (saxophone)
Oli Holland (bass)
Cameron Sangster (drums)
Mike Booth (trumpet on tracks 3, 5 & 7)

If the Phil Broadhurst Quartet’s previous outing, Delayed Reaction, was a little hesitant in places, this new album sweeps all uncertainty aside. The quartet is fully and confidently on their metal, and each of Phil’s Broadhurst’s new compositions are finely written, deeply attractive pieces. Cameron Sangster replaces Alain Koetsier on drums, Oli Holland and Roger Manins return on acoustic bass and tenor saxophone respectively, and trumpet player Mike Booth guests again on three tracks.

Where Delayed Reaction was a tribute to legendary jazz pianist/composer, Michel Petrucciani, the compositions on Flaubert’s Dance reflect a wide diversity of influences in Phil’s writing and performing, from Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett to Many Katché, Elaine Elias and Tomaz Stanko. The title track pays homage to Enrico Pieranunzi, First Shot updates the rhythmic feel of Herbie Hancock’s Toys (from Speak Like a Child), Integrity and Scoreless reflects Phil’s enthusiasm for the ECM label and the music of Katché and Stanko, Stretched by the joyful music of Elias, while Loping was written with a number of musicians and composers in mind.

While one might recognise the flavour of these giants of jazz peeking in around the edges from time to time, the music on this album resolutely belongs to Phil Broadhurst and his exceptional quartet. What’s more, this is a very mature piece of work, showing great style, concentration, articulation and beauty. Flaubert’s Dance is an autumnal gem, graceful and restrained, but with bags of passion and unfettered enthusiasm for jazz.

“Despite his many achievements, Broadhurst is not content to rest on his laurels, which is perhaps the key to his continued growth as a musician. [His music is] a testament to the global language of jazz, which crosses international boundaries with enviable ease.” – Florence Wetzel, All About Jazz

“As the first recipient of the MNZ< award for services to jazz, and three-time winner of jazz album of the year, pianist and composer Phil Broadhurst is one of the main reasons why jazz in New Zealand is so vital and vibrant. He has that rare ability to acknowledge a love affair and take it in a direction where only he can go.” – Mike Alexander, Sunday Star Times


RAT-J-1015 (February, 2013)

  Flaubert's Dance
  Phil Broadhurst Quartet  

  Produced by Phil Broadhurst
  Recorded, mixed and mastered by Steve Garden
  Design by UnkleFranc

    First Shot (7:16)
    Integrity (9:36)
    Flaubert's Dance (7:08)
    Straight and Narrow (6:30)
    Strecthed (6:03)
    The 21st, Domain (7:26)
    Loping (6:11)
    Scoreless (7:39)



Review by Florence Wetzel, All About Jazz

The nineteenth century author Gustave Flaubert was famous for his phrase le mot juste, meaning "the right word." Flaubert believed in exactitude of expression, and his work is a testament to the harmony that results from precision. It's therefore not surprising that New Zealand pianist Phil Broadhurst has invoked the author on his superb Flaubert's Dance. A master of subtle emotions, Broadhurst paints with a fine brush that captures a range of feelings, creating deeply nuanced music supported by wide knowledge and careful choices.

Just as Broadhurst's previous release Delayed Reaction (Rattle, 2012) was an original work inspired by another musician, namely the great pianist Michel Petrucciani, the eight songs on this project are also full of tributes. Broadhurst is a gifted composer, with a particular skill for interpreting and integrating a broad range of musical styles, and in this case his muses range from pianist Herbie Hancock to drummer Manu Katche to trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. Because Broadhurst appreciates such an expansive palette of musicians, his music is equally far-reaching—but no matter what the origins, each tune is infused with Broadhurst's sparkling piano and an absolutely delicious swing.

The CD opens with "First Shot," an update of the rhythmic feel of "Toys" from Hancock's Speak Like a Child (Blue Note, 1968). A laid-back piece with light, effervescent swing, it includes an elegant solo by Broadhurst and graceful lines by saxophonist Roger Manins. Other highlights include "Flaubert's Dance," a pretty, wistful melody dedicated to pianist Enrico Pieranunzi, which includes a strong solo by bassist Olivier Holland. "Straight and Narrow" is a gorgeous ballad with an undercurrent of sorrow, full of delicate lacework and exquisite tenderness, with sensitive brushwork by drummer Cameron Sangster.

"Stretched" invokes the joyful sounds of pianist Eliane Elias: a bright, bold tune with wonderful rhythmic propulsion. Manins' lines are delightfully supple, and trumpeter Mike Booth's lively solo adds further color and depth. The CD ends with "Scoreless," dedicated to the Tomasz Stańko Quartet and inspired by the spirit of the venerable ECM label. A reflective song that unfolds at a thrillingly languid pace, it starts off with a simmering drum and bass duet, eventually joined by Broadhurst's luminous piano and Manins' lovely, relaxed tenor.

Prolific and sensitive, hard-working and curious, Broadhurst is a model of the jazz musician in full bloom. Flaubert's Dance is an abundant work bursting with beauty and tenderness, with just the right notes throughout.


Review by Simon Sweetman, Off the Tracks

I always end up praising Rattle in reviews of Rattle product – but you know, here’s a wee label that’s committed to decent/lovely packaging, liner notes, albums with smart design, lovely covers – they’re making CDs for CD buyers/collectors. You can argue all you like about the pointlessness of that, about whether CD buyers even exist anymore but I love what Rattle does. And it would all mean nothing if the quality of the music wasn’t strong. And it is. That’s the main thing I love about what Rattle does. I don’t love every single release but there’s a consistency across their releases of the last couple of years particularly…

So here we have the new outing from jazz pianist Phil Broadhurst. He’s joined here by Oli Holland (bass), Roger Manins (sax) and Cameron Sangster (drums). They’re joined on three of the tracks here by guest trumpeter Mike Booth.

It’s a confidant collection of light, breezy swing tunes and gorgeous balladry and it’s another in a long line of solid releases, of wonderful work, from Broadhurst. He’s a great player/composer/arranger/bandleader and his commitment to jazz is something that Kiwis should certainly be proud of.

This is such an easy album in the sense of putting it on and falling in love with it. I’ve had this record on a loop at times – particularly in the wee small hours; for some reason I keep coming back to this album at 4am, 5am, 6am – the evocations of a rainy night in the sway and willowy wilt of the brushes against Broadhurst’s keys, the interplay between Broadhurst and Manins, the proud nods from Holland – supporting the ship. It’s all so easy – to listen to that is. They make it all so easy. I’ve loved living with this album for several months now. I look forward to many journeys with it for the years ahead.


Review by Mike Alexander, Sunday Star Times

As one of Rattle's more profilic artists, the first recipient of the MNZM award for services to jazz in 2001 and a three-time winner of Jazz Album of the Year, oianist and composer Phil Broadhurst is one of the main reasons why jazz in New Zealand is so vital and vibrant. Flaubert's Dance is a tribute album of sorts to some of his seminal influences, such as Herbie Hancock (First Shot) and ECM artists Keith Jarrett (Loping), Tomasz Stanko (Scoreless) and Manu Katche (Integrity), but Broadhurst, in quartet-mode with Roger Manins, Oliveir Holland and Cameron Sangster, aided by trumpeter Mike Booth, has that rare ability to acknowledge a love affair and take it in a direction where only he can go.