27 June 2014
Bill and Ed were so frequently written up here in recent years, while they were top students at the ANU Jazz School, that I wonder what more to write. Casey is not local, but I’ve also heard him several times, mostly with Bill and Ed. Ed is still the immensely committed and responsive drummer with close control and restrained volume. Bill was quiet too (a bit too quiet for my ears) but he stepped up when his frequent solos came around, and spelt out careful melodic snippets leavened with quicker runs, all with firm expression. Casey would frequently enter with solo intros, leading into complex arrangements, odd times, unison taps and the like with his colleagues, purposeful sequences and impressionistic colour. He told Geoff Page and me that he’d studied the grades of classical music and was pleased when Geoff identified the French impressionists as an influence, Debussy and the like. There’s tons of colour here and also spaciousness, and the trio works a treat with a cerebral music that entices with beauty and immense delicacy and close listening. Bill and Ed can stare at each other and at Casey at times and smiles often ensue. Casey often bends over the keyboard, but he’s smiles at the end of a tune too. Here’s a band that plays music of utter seriousness and the achievement shows, proud but never conceited. This is art as it’s made in modern Australia: unpretentious but skilled, informed and deeply serious.
Casey Golden (piano) led his trio with Bill Williams (bass) and Ed Rodrigues (drums) at Smiths