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Reviewed by Alan Brown

Bernie McGann: Modern Jazz At Wayside Chapel

Reviewed by Alan Brown

Bernie McGann: Modern Jazz At Wayside Chapel

It’s not often one gets to hear such a rare treat in Australasian jazz as this. Recorded in 1966 in Sydney, this is a glimpse into the compelling music that was being created at a time when so much local jazz was being overlooked for what was happening overseas. However what we have here is ground-breaking, relevant and as important as anything that was coming out of the US at the time. The late Bernie McGann on alto sax is well-known to local jazz aficionados and he’s at his creative peak here, performing an original (Lazy Days), two by Bobby Gebert, Monk’s Rhythm-a-Ning (in which he takes no prisoners) as well as an extended jam on Ornette Coleman’s When Will The Blues Leave.

Alongside locals Kim Paterson on trumpet and the late Andy Brown on bass, with American drummer George Neidorf and Bobby Gebert on piano, this is as swinging and vibrant as it gets. Paterson is on fire – wonderful to hear his early playing in such an open and creative context. Sure, the quality isn’t always at a peak – three tunes were salvaged from a cassette owned by Paterson, but this recording captures such a vibrancy that it’s an essential legacy to not only local jazz, but jazz in general. The beautiful retro Blue Note-style vinyl package tops it off. Highly recommended, released by fledgling Auckland label Sarang Bang.