Music / “This World” album promo tour, The Street Theatre, Sunday, February 9. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY.
MUSIC rarely comes better than the sounds that jazz legends Mike Nock, Jonathan Zwartz, Julien Wilson and Hamish Stuart make. They could be called a jazz supergroup.
In this band with no name were, Mike Nock, piano; Jonathan Zwartz, double bass; Julien Wilson, sax; Hamish Stuart, drums. They are on a 12 gig tour promoting their new album “This World”.
Each piece was played in the order they are on the album. The cool contemporary sound of this quartet of jazz greats is balanced superbly. Their separate but combined voices sing of a system of jazz that each other understands intimately and connectedly.
Few musicians are smoother than Mike Nock on piano. While he can play up a storm, his solo sound creates searching music that finds a soft spot in a listener’s heart. He manages to find just the right sound for every piece he plays and creates. His compositions are wistful, sad and complete with melody. Nock’s history is long and grand in the jazz world, and he loves what he does.
Wilson on sax has a laconic yet introspective attitude to his sound. He makes each phrase fit the mood. When he goes deep, he’s soulful and anguished, while mixing high separate notes to add a different colour; it’s musical magic.
The double bass of Jonathan Zwartz follows and fills the deep end. He’s watchful and direct. He makes his own world within the quartet and writes many of the songs.
There was a comical moment before the third song. Hamish Stuart on drums was using his mobile phone to view the setlist, but somehow the music on the list got switched on and was picked up by one of his microphones. It took a moment to figure out where the music was coming from until Stuart began to apologise realising what he had done. He said he was hard of hearing and couldn’t hear it, but his microphone did, and the rest in the group and the audience.
This didn’t detract from his extraordinary playing and his ability to make a thousand sounds from one drum kit. He closes his eyes and strikes away; caught in the moment his rhythms become hypnotic and transcending.
They bring a modern jazz sound. They lean to the contemporary, and they do it so well. This group feed off each other yet remain separate and individual musicians. While they don’t have a name, yet, they should be called “One” because they make one great sound and give one great performance.