Springwood Presbyterian Hall, April 11 

Ollie Miller by Peter Karp res
Ollie Miller. Photo: Peter Karp.

I presume some other band’s repertoire may have ranged from Bela Bartok to Boubacar Traore, but not one that I have encountered. Gary Daley is not going to die wondering what would have happened had put all the  options on the table with his new band, Bungarribee.

The instrumentation and line-up of players was already ensuring a fresh slant. Daley (piano, accordion) primarily has a background in groove-based music. Tunji Beier (Indian and African percussion) has popped up in diverse world music projects. Ollie Miller’s cello has  been heard in classical, jazz and new-music contexts and Paul Cutlan (saxophone and clarinets) is primarily a jazz player.

The commonality, of course, is improvisation, and Daley has certainly provided them with not just diverse contexts, but with entirely different sound worlds in which to bring those skills to bear.

The curling melodies of Bartok’s Nocturno (Mikrokosmos No. 97), particularly suited the ensemble (setting up an accordion solo underpinned by sparse pizzicato cello), as did Dmitri Kabalevsky’s evocative At Night On The River. From the latter we travelled at the speed of light directly to Mali and the question-and-answer melody of Traore’s Kanou. Lilting dialogues between firstly piano and cello and then cello and bass clarinet rode on Beier’s relaxed groove from djembe and shaker played simultaneously.

At another extreme Miller’s electronically-treated cello swooped and soared on Daley’s Bundanon, although this was one of several pieces that became overly busy when the textures available within the band cry out for transparency and clarity. Bungarribee actually has three instruments capable of providing a bass line in the piano, cello and bass clarinet, but were bass lines more often dispensed with altogether it would let the music breathe more, even amid an insistent groove.

A highlight was Cutlan’s bass clarinet on Daley’s Bungarribee Road: a welter of cries and moans that sounded like all the hounds of hell had scented blood.

Bungarribee: Tonight (Saturday April 12), Foundry 616.