Al, Sam, and I played together often for the three years this trio existed, 2010–2013. We shared a love of the history of jazz and a desire to tap into the elements of it that resonated most strongly with us. The only other commercially released recording of this trio, "Lost in the Stars," documents a project of ours that combined compositions by Mary Lou Williams and Karlheinz Stockhausen, with the central theme being signs of the zodiac. This recording reflects the repertoire that the trio played gig to gig, week to week. It is a testament to our musical rapport and friendship.
Al was a part of many great piano trios in the history of Australian jazz—with Paul Grabowsky and Gary Costello, Tim Stevens and Nick Haywood, and Andrea Keller and Tamara Murphy, to name the ones I listened to the most. I feel lucky to have played with Al so often and over a relatively long period—my first gig with him was in 2005, and we formed our first trio with Sam Anning in 2007.
The trio on this recording played many, many Monday nights at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in Melbourne. The two performances that comprise this recording each mark endings, in a way. The first was the last time this trio performed together before I moved to New York City, and the second was the last time I performed with Al before he passed in 2015. Al’s sincere, poetic, and witty style of announcing was a striking feature of all of his gigs. For that reason, we decided to include some of his announcements on this recording.
Al was, in retrospect, a catalyst and sustaining force for my loving explorations of jazz repertoire. Whenever I sit down to play some Monk, Jelly Roll, play “Where or When” or “Body and Soul,” or hear Billie Holiday sing, Al is on my mind. I think of and miss him every day.
released January 20, 2018
Marc Hannaford: piano
Sam Pankhurst: double bass
Allan Browne: drums
Recorded live at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club by James Savage July 22, 2013 (“Intro,” “Pound Cake,” “Daydream,” “Warm Canto,” and “Skippy”) and January 12, 2015 (“The Mooche,” “Wow,” “Where or When,” and “Dance of the Infidels”)
Mixed by James Savage
Mastered by Philip Rex
Vanessa Perica is a new name in the big band business, and her debut album proves that we can expect a lot of pleasant surprises from her in this genre. I'm noticing with contentment that an increasing number of women pushes forward into this traditionally male-dominated realm - with quite convincing musical arguments. Sven B. Schreiber