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Reviewed by Aleisha Ward

John Key Trio: Back & Forth

Reviewed by Aleisha Ward

John Key Trio: Back & Forth

First up a bit of clarification: No, this is not our former PM breaking into the music game. This John Key has been on the NZ jazz scene far longer than that John Key has been in politics. This latest album showcases his piano trio (bassist Matt Fieldes and Jono Sawyer on drums) at their finest. Engineered, mixed and mastered by Larry Killip in his Auckland studio, these 10 original compositions span a variety of moods and modes of jazz. Key digs into dirty blues on Slow Right Down then moves into Brad Mehldau-esqe territory on the next track One Stop Drop. Fieldes and Sawyer provide sensitive accompaniment and support to Key’s piano lines in all the different moods that are created. Guest musician Mike Booth (trumpet and flugelhorn) is an excellent addition and his warm timbre compliments the cohesive sound of the trio. ‘Back & Forth’ is an absolute masterclass in being tight – rhythmically and melodically the musicians are wonderfully in sync with each other, and could surely stop on the proverbial dime if asked. The title track closes out the album with a lilting meditativeness that charms with contrapuntal lines and interplay between Booth and Key, ending with a clever fade that evokes nostalgia of old church halls. Anyone who likes laid-back acoustic jazz will enjoy this confidently relaxed and beautifully presented album from some of New Zealand’s very fine jazz players.