THROUGH HER EYES
Given that it is memorial to his mother, a remarkable optimism pervades this opus from singer/trombonist Dan Barnett. Or perhaps it is stoicism alchemised into optimism in the very act of making the music.
It was recorded live in a private home, which can sometimes make for a minor level of muddiness in the sound of the four-piece rhythm section, but the pay-off is an immediacy to the music, itself, and to the players’ interaction. Those players are the cream of Australia’s mainstream jazz scene: Paul Furniss (clarinet/alto saxophone – brilliant on Sultry Serenade), Bill Burton (trumpet/flugelhorn), Peter Locke (piano), the late Chuck Morgan (guitar), Craig Scott (bass), Cyril Bevan (drums), George Washingmachine (guest vocals/violin) and Anthony Howe (guest drums).
And yet, as good as the solos are and as silken as the rhythm section is, the beating heart of the project lies in Barnett’s unerring instincts as jazz singer, even jolting you in the midst of something as well-worn as Skylark with a burst of falsetto as unexpected as a shooting star. On a couple of tracks his and Washingmachine’s voices merge in phrasing and blend in harmony like two kids playing a game – which is what music is when played with this level of delight.