Garfish review: The Australian 24/25 March 2012

by admin on 24 March 2012

Review by John McBeath, The Australian March 24-25 2012
4/5 stars
THIS third album from young Sydney quartet the Vampires continues the group’s musical advancement, investigation of latin rhythms, and masterful compositions by altoist Jeremy Rose and trumpeter Nick Garbett.

Rose in particular is rapidly gathering further high acclaim and awards. With the same personnel and guest artists — trombonist Shannon Barnett and percussionist Fabian Hevia — as the 2010 recording Chellowdene, this new one sounds definitely Caribbean-based in style.

Rose’s Haiti opens with an infectious Carib rhythm established by Hevia’s percussion, Alex Masso’s drumkit and Alex Boneham’s mobile bass, then uses the three-horn front line in an authentic Haitian blend of Afro-Cuban, French, and Spanish influences injected with a jazz feel.

It’s the longest track at eight minutes and includes a skilled, joyously swinging, stuttering trombone solo. Strugglin’ features wonderful solos from, first, Rose’s clever, bluesy-latino alto plus quick runs, followed by a precise, slightly sedate trumpet ending in a downward growl, to conclude in inventive drum exchanges with the two riffing horns.

While many tracks use post-bop themes blended with latin rhythms, Life in the Fast Lane is the most representative of those ideas, moving through changing tempos and altering moods with alto and trumpet voiced against faster-moving bass and accented drums, ending in an unexpected, faintly mariachi passage. Garfish is a fine addition to the Vampires’ collection of evolving originality.

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