And what of this band! One passage had me thinking of James Muller as Aussie pub rock on harmonic steroids. Here he was playing rock grooves with distortion and sustain, shrieks wrenched from his guitar, blatant and prolific with long lines that reached to the guitar heavens. Mostly it was those same shredded lines but cleaner and always defined and uplifting and exciting. Always virtuosic. James is one of those players who grabs a band by its … well you know what I mean. Matt Keagan appears to me as more restrained and concerned with tonal purity. But he too let go with intense and busy harmonic washes with a free-jazz lack of restraint, on tenor but also on a soprano that sounded of the Kasbah. I just love Brett Hirst’s playing so no surprise how I found that. This was fat and funky and in some ways a departure from the jazz rock tradition, which is usually fast and furious on e-bass. Double bass is slower, but the tone was delightful and I preferred it, and the chunky grooves sat so well and were so well varied. His solos, too, were stunners and quite unique - probably because double bass isn’t the common instrument in this rocky context. They ventured over the neck with blues and other lines, but to me they were infused with groove more than melody. And Tim Firth was wonderful: open to all the surrounding performers, bouncing ideas with his sidemen and highlighting features in the charts with clarity while chopping up the groove with improv and doing all this at nicely controlled volume levels. Suffice to say I liked the band!
I’d heard this very combination once before at Wang and they were playing music that was very similar. I must have been concerted-out because I didn’t get it like http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifI did this night. This was my own history and maybe I’d dismissed it, as jazzers easily write off jazz-rock. Not this time. I thoroughly enjoyed this music and after this night and the recent Chick Corea/RTF concert I have a new respect for it. This is a classy jazz-rock fusion with lyricism and virtuosity and richly informed classical influences. Fabulous and even awe-inspiring. Mark Isaacs (piano, compositions) led his Resurgence Band with Matt Keegan (soprano, tenor saxes), James Muller (guitar), Brett Hirst (bass) and Tim Firth (drums). Carlo Aurango is touring as their sound man.