James Ryan




You’ve heard of megaphone diplomacy and even gunboat diplomacy, but what about napalm diplomacy? That would seem to be what was involved when DFAT sent James Ryan and his band to an unsuspecting India in 2009, from which tour this live album has just come to light. The tenor saxophonist is joined by trumpeter Scott Tinkler, bassist Steve Hunter and drummer Ken Edie – a line-up that has “incendiary” graffitied all over it before they even play a note. They don’t disappoint.

Ryan has always revelled in the sort of sound and energy that could crack walls (even without a tunnel being built under your home), and Tinkler’s laser-bright trumpet sound is just the tool with which to finish the job. In the ground-shaking rhythm section, meanwhile, Hunter’s bass boils and bubbles, and Ken Edie’s drumming dramatically compounds the edgy sense that even in what is mostly grooved-based and often funky jazz, anything could happen and probably will. Amid the ferocity a blazing kind of beauty emerges, and happily the Indians lapped it up like so much Vindaloo. You will, too – as long as you play it loudly enough to rattle your neighbours’ windows.