Hear Tight Corners: Phillip Johnston/Jex Saarelaht Quartet

  • October 19, 2013 · 8:30 PM

playing the music of Thelonious Monk, Steve Lacy, and Herbie Nichols.

“Countless jazz musicians perform Monk's pieces, but few seem to fully understand the enormity of the gift to improvisers inherent in his melodies, the unique charm of his use of dissonance or the playfulness of his rhythmic displacements. The four members of Tight Corners are well alive to these priceless assets, and performed the works with a lightness and humour that seemed to make the whole room levitate. And just as the perception of a painting is affected by the works with which it is shown, so the "Monkishness" of Lacy and Nicols was underlined, not so much as being derivative, but as being part of one of jazz's richest, most colourful and most pliable seams. Glorious.”

– John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald (from a review of their performance at the 2013 Capital Jazz Project, Canberra)


Tight Corners returns to the Sound Lounge after it's debut in July last year. This exciting ensemble is a Sydney-New York-Melbourne meeting of minds, exploring the work of a linked trio of musical 'practitioners': Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols and Steve Lacy. While some of Monk's tunes have become staples of the jazz repertoire, many of them are rarely played due to their difficult structures and unusual harmony. Nichols and Lacy are much lauded, but they each produced a body of work that has only rarely been subsequently performed. This new repertory ensemble goes into tight corners to try and wrestle this roiling repertoire.

Melbourne pianist-composer Jex Saarelaht has performed and recorded with an impressive list of Australian and international musicians, from Dale Barlow and Bernie McGann to Vince Jones and Chris Wilson, from Renee Geyer and Kate Ceberano to Sheila Jordan and Steve Lacy. His most recent release is Fiveways: At Chapel Off Chapel (Jazzhead) by The Jex Saarelaht Quartet.

Sydney/New York saxophonist-composer Phillip Johnston’s recent projects have included his score for Lotte Reineger’s 1927 silhouette animation The Adventures of Prince Achmed at Parramatta Riverside Theatres, and his collaboration with graphic artist Art Spiegelman Wordless! at the Sydney Opera House’s Graphic Festival. Tight Corners will be appearing at the 2013 Wangaratta Jazz Festival.

Their excellent collaborators will be Jonathan Zwartz on bass and Nic Cecire on drums. Both Johnston and Saarelaht promise not to play any of their own tunes on the gig.

Phillip Johnston (soprano saxophone) Jex Saarelaht (piano) Jonathan Zwartz (bass)
Nic Cecire (drums)
To hear more visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCrE_AIwkuY
There is a ticket price, bookings through seymour centre or on door www.sima.org.au for more info

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  • Gerry M.

    Great band and good venue.

    October 20, 2013

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