PYRAMID PIECES 2: Modern Jazz Australia 1969 – 1980 / The ROUNDTABLE – By Cal Gibson

Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

This is the second time around for the Melbourne label, The Roundtable`s very cool trawl through the long lost jazzual archives down under: six slamming selections from the late `60s / `70s, guaranteed to hit the bebop hipster-hop spot. Trawling through the catalogues of the independent imprints, Jazznote and 44 Records, there’s plenty to get your teeth into – Allan Zavod’s Circles, for example, flies out of the blocks – huge piano chords chomping at the bit, bassline chasing its own tail, drummer pushing along, pushing along: one for the dancers without a doubt. Zavod played with Frank Zappa, and you can probably hear why.

The Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s Bruce Cato turns up with his own quintet in tow for Kori Monga Nuie – which could well be a Maori title and offers up nine minutes of effortless cool: the players digging in, reaching out, bottom end rolling, underpinning the solos. A sultry early-evening opener if you’re playing records to an open-minded crowd.

Plenty of styles on offer then, from modal throwdowns to lush soulful pastures – a fascinating glimpse into a little known world, gone but well worth reviving. This is quality music-making – work done by largely unheralded players – that survives the intervening years with ease. Bob BertlesValley Of The Tweed opens up proceedings with a stately groove: trumpets talking, chattering, playfully outlining the melodies – relaxed, funky as hell, with a great little piano solo dropping in at the five minute mark. Marvelous, marvelous, stuff.

It`s testament to the quality of the music that it all still sounds fresh and vibrant: this is ageless, essentially. Do yourself a favour and pick up Pyramid Pieces 2 – and while you’re at it the first installment is pretty damn tough too: check Peter Gaudion’s fantastic take on People Make the World Go Round – it`s right up there with some of the finest versions I’ve heard.

Pyramid Pieces 2 is out now, care of The Roundtable. 

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