Beyond the music itself, much pleasure may be had hearing successive generations of local improvisers take the baton of possibility to destinations of their own. The four members of Sydney’s Delay 45 have been mentored by some of the finest jazz musicians the country has produced. The upshot, however, is not a batch of clones, but of minds opened to infinite potential. So, while this exceptional debut album carries echoes of other players, the collective sound is already entirely the band’s own. No mean feat.
Part of that is attributable to the compositions (six from trumpeter Tom Avgenicos and two from pianist Roshan Kumarage), which eschew the tired head-solos-head format in favour of a greater fluidity, and this actually lends the improvising added weight and focus. The ambiance is often twilit, with spikes of ardency, and both the moodiness and energised piquancy are imaginatively shaded and amplified by bassist Dave Quinn and drummer Ashley Stoneham. Fans of, say, Tomasz Stanko and Band of Five Names may find much to admire, although this is more like turning the page to a bold new chapter in Oz jazz.