The WCY: Gastronomy Astrology – Jazz Journal

Its detractors will qualify all jazz as “light music”, refusing to distinguish the light from the serious as does so-called classical music. Fats Waller, Slim Gaillard, Mose Allison, Blossom Dearie and others were more witty than light-hearted, but there is a jovial seam in jazz history that would happily encompass the culinary and cosmological album by Australian bassist and songwriter Elsen. Price.

But, as is often the case in the jazz charts, the tracks have no obvious connection to the music unless in this case one notices the healthy appetite of the group to start munching the tunes of Price, all written over the course of the 2020 season lockdown in Sydney and touching on mixing, fussing, filling, baking – and gleefully consuming.

These are rich and tasty cards, Price no less than his familiars wanting to be an essential part of the mix that makes his presence felt. Bite into those tunes and everything and everyone explodes on the tongue, from the twin-sax lead of James Ryan and Stu Vandegraaff – antiphonal of Truffle Cheddar – to the feverish percussions of Ed Rodrigues on Mystery Ingredient and the hasty piano of Casey Golden on Pineapple On A Pizza.

Against an Elsen drone, Vegan Surprise begins with a free float that changes to a Greek / Middle Eastern flavor as Price’s surging arco melody is punctuated by Ryan and Vandegraaff in anthem mode. The menu is crowned by Gorgonzola Brie, the most complex and very characteristic dish of Price in the presence of guitarist Felix Lalanne. There’s an elegant solo from Golden, and the two saxophones add to the decor before Price and Lalanne return to top it off. Give all of these titles inedible titles and the listener probably won’t remember the food, let alone astromancy.

Wikipedia has a long entry on Australian jazz. Earlier this year, JJ reviewed a jazz interpretation of JS Bach by composer-pianist Keyna Wilkins. Price plays in Wilkins’ Ephemera Quartet and portrays himself and his colleagues well on this album.

Pineapple on a pizza; The Master Burger; Truffle Cheddar; Mystery ingredient; Extra cheese pepperoni; Vegan surprise; Brie Gorgonzola (42.03)
Elsen Prize (b); James Ryan (ts); Stu Vandegraaff (as); Félix Lalanne (g); Casey Golden (p); Ed Rodrigues (d). Sydney, Australia, November 28, 2020.
Rippa Recordings RR1012

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