Reviewed by Aleisha Ward

The Troubles: Kapow

Reviewed by Aleisha Ward

The Troubles: Kapow

Backing up 2012’s self-titled album, Wellington jazz group The Troubles return with a second album they’ve titled ‘Kapow’.

This one was recorded live at Meow during the 2016 Wellington Jazz Festival by Benni Krueger (who also recorded their first album) and released on Thick Records.

Formed by drummer Jon Rae, The Troubles are a standout band that stretches beyond what most would think of a jazz ensemble.

Sure, there are saxophones, trumpets, bass and drums, but in this iteration of the band flute, clarinet, violin, viola and cello are also involved in the joyful sonic anarchy.

The sound that arises from the various groupings that occur in the group’s arrangements is eclectic and reminiscent of the 1960s Charles Mingus Band and the experimental Third Stream bands of the same period.

Their music comes out of those sound worlds, expanded with influences from European, Balkan and Middle Eastern folk music, all tweaked and melded into their own sonic landscape.

‘Kapow’ comprises a mix of original compositions by Jon Rae and the group’s bassist Patrick Bleakley, with some arrangements of other composers’ works.

One of the most striking things about The Troubles is that the arrangements incorporate often-disparate instrumentation into a cohesive whole, without one section overwhelming another, or sounding jarring. ‘Kapow’ provides a welcoming introduction for anyone wanting to venture into the more avant-garde or eclectic presentations of local jazz.