Jonathan Zwartz CD

The Remembering & Forgetting Of The Aircover

(birdland.com.au)

In a world of stress, friction, worry and the relentless buzz of necessity Jonathan Zwartz creates music akin to the release of a long sigh; music that inclines us to let the sounds wash over us.

Not that this follow-up to The Sea, Zwartz’s auspicious debut as leader, is ambient in intent (although it could be used that way). But it has a deep peacefulness and a simple beauty carrying an implicit hint of ineffable sadness.

Shimmer and Luminous are as their names suggest, with wandering melodies leading to gorgeous soft-focus solos from Barney McAll (piano) or Phil Slater (trumpet). Wait Until Morning and Sugar Hill Picnic lean on the blues, exploiting McAll’s instinct for the micro-dynamics within a phrase that make the music sing with conviction. Peter Jones has a pulse like breathing, and Icelandik is the centrepiece: diaphanous, swelling and finally haunting.

The carefully layered production creates three-dimensional sound images in which the instruments merge as in the best orchestras, but are also distinctive and redolent of each player’s personality.

Julien Wilson (tenor), Richard Maegraith (tenor, bass clarinet), James Greening (trombone) and Steve Magnusson (guitar) make superb contributions, and Zwartz (bass), Hamish Stuart (drums) and Fabian Hevia (percussion) supply the sparse, meaty grooves. If you then need a hit of something more boisterous a bonus disc even supplies that.