Ted Vining won’t die wondering what may have happened had he really applied himself. I remember gigs that were cruising along rather politely, when suddenly the Melbourne drummer/band-leader detonated massive drum/cymbal explosions that turbocharged the rest of the performance. Now in his 70s he continues to energise his every project, including Blow.
He certainly doesn’t have to do all the work himself, however. The foreground of this music is often ablaze with Peter Harper’s monstrous tenor saxophone, a device delightfully at odds with the sad trend towards prissy tenor sounds.
That feistiness is really what defines this band, and it spreads like a grass fire from player to player, so the music is always raw and joyous, and precious sophistication be damned. Ian Dixon offers exultant trumpet, Gareth Hill chunky bass and Bob Sedergreen – a Vining colleague for nearly half a century – spirited piano and electric piano. The compositions are mostly surging affairs by Harper, John Coltrane, Abdullah Ibrahim and Sam Rivers.
A Ted Vining Trio album (with Sedergreen and bassist Barry Buckley), Live at PBSFM 1981, has come out simultaneously, and Sedergreen’s playing is so much more compelling on the Blow disc. The trio album has a show-off element that has been expunged in the Blow furnace. Nonetheless it further documents just how driving that band was.