A FRUITFUL HARVEST
What do one of the greatest philosophers of the last 200 years and the most incendiary musician Australia has ever produced have in common? They are both inspirations for Michael Gordon’s debut album as leader. In the liner-notes the Sydney saxophonist/composer provides quotes from Friedrich Nietzsche as background to each of his seven pieces, and he acknowledges the great Mark Simmonds as an influence on his composing. What actually comes cruising from the speakers traverses comparable territory of music and mood.
Gordon has a fondness for chirpy calypsos, and these suit his light, sprightly tenor sound, which is less convincing when applied to the chunky, backbeat-based Rollin’. For the pensiveness of The Winter Song Gordon makes his sound darker and grainier, and then laces it with subtle vibrato, all without losing the attractive distinctiveness he already boasts. Honey, taken on soprano, is certainly spirited, although there are some lapses in intonation. Pianist Novak Manojlovic, bassist Samuel Dobson and drummer James Waples aid the cause, but one doesn’t feel that Gordon is not yet fully obeying Nietzsche’s injunction to “live dangerously”.