SMH Review of New Album – John Shand

This music casts a double-strength spell. Not only does it have the irresistible appeal of tango but it contains some brilliantly imaginative writing and intriguing arranging for a saxophone quartet.

The intrigue is partly due to having two classical saxophonists in Christina Leonard (soprano, alto) and Luke Gilmour (baritone), joined by two jazz saxophonists in Jeremy Rose (alto) and Matthew Ottignon (tenor), with the consequent juxtapositions of tonal quality and approach. The upshot is a fattened collective sound, further expanded by accordionist Marcello Maio and guitarist Julian Curwin.

The superb pieces have been composed within the band and, in the tradition of Astor Piazzola’s “nuevo tango”, stretch the rhthms to (back-)breaking point. The horns, meanwhile, curl around one another in dramatic precision, or explode in joyous or sultry improvisation. the whole is cushioned – and made more accessible – by the svelte guitar and swelling opulence of the accordian.
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