Wednesday, May 18, 2016

NZ Music Month: Nearness Live

Nearness Live (Moontower)
Hayden Chisholm (as) Matt Penman (b) Jochen Rueckert (d)

New Zealand jazzI picked up the first Nearness album when Root 70 toured New Zealand during 2007(?). It quickly moved into heavy rotation (from memory, around that time I was listening to plenty of Warne Marsh, Connie Crothers, Michael Moore and whatever recordings of Hayden's I could get my hands on).

Recorded in 2008 in Cologne and released as part of the monumental box set 13 Views of the Hearts Cargo (2013), Nearness Live features the same methodology as the earlier disc - improvising on material from the great American songbook. Perhaps this one is a little more outwardly energetic than the earlier studio recording. Either way, the trio provide more evidence of just how much music is left in these gems of songs.

These three have played together in various groups since the mid-90s they have developed a great rapport and the intimate nature of this album allows the subtleties come shining through (and the recording captures the individual sounds of the trio wonderfully). I continue to hear new things whenever I return to it - "May" caught my ear around 6.16 - the way the trio slides into the next 8 leapt out at me this week. Another, is the way the alto emerges out of the cymbal wash at 2.04 on "Friends." I have been getting into how much Hayden's phrasing and rhythmic approach is integral to his lyrical core - the stretch at 2.18-2.40 of "So Alone" and 2.20-2.28 of "Tout de Moi" are just a couple of (many) examples.

The rhythm section of Penman and Rueckert is a favorite of mine. Matt has a great tone and creative lines (as an accompanist and soloist) and Jochen has the ability to play lower dynamics without sacrificing any of his personality. An added bonus is that both have a little more room to move on this outing than on the first album.

New Zealand Jazz

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