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John Shand - Sydney Morning Herald (May 2012)

Some musicians exude a life force just through the sound they create on an instrument. It is like a sonorous voice catching the ear, and making one keen to hear what the person has to say.

David Ades makes such a sound on the alto saxophone. It is bolder and broader than an alto has a right to be and, like a colour that changes with the light, can seem to emit swaggering joy one instant and desperate sadness the next, with barely a change in timbre.

A Glorious Uncertainty - a twin reference to the nature of improvisation and to his late father's attitude to each day - is a big statement from the Byron Bay-based Ades.

He recorded it in New York with Tony Malaby (tenor), Mark Helias (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums), furthering an association begun at the Wangaratta Festival 12 years ago.

This sets it apart from the stilted music that can result from such pilgrimages to collaborate with the Big Apple's gun players. Only truth is present here.

The pieces range from austere to exuberant, their variety offering the players not only fresh improvisational options but almost completely different sound worlds.

The sprawling tenor and swooping alto are sometimes akin to two great birds circling each other in a mysterious mating ritual, and at other times they hurtle towards the same emotional mark, unleashing all the sonic might at their joint disposal.

Like the horns, the sinuous team of Helias and Cleaver crams the music with vitality. This is powerful, imaginative and compelling jazz.

John McBeath The Australian (April 2012)

The title of this album - Byron Bay altoist David Ades's first in 20 years - refers to the spontaneity of improvisation and to the life of Ades's father, who died in 2009.

A jazz fan and famous character on New York streets, Joe Ades, known as the "peeler guy", sold vegetable peelers all across the city when, as his son says, "every day was an improvisation".

For these nine originals, Ades returned to New York, recording with three long-term associates: Tony Malaby on tenor sax, Mark Helias on bass, and drummer Gerald Cleaver. This collection is all about expression and analysis of places, personalities and emotions, delivered with originality and superlative technique.

Joe the Kid captures the unpredictability and chaotic energy of a big city with downward horn progressions underpinned by motile bass and heavily worked drums, moving into riotously swinging, contrapuntal improvisation.

A tribute to drummer-composer Phil Treloar, Philstream opens in a sagging, wandering theme of introspection studded with drum ornamentation. Ades drops in flourishes and quick passages, often flying up into harmonics or lingering on a tremolo. Beginning with random, oneiric sound shafts, Dreaming in Colour proceeds via a bass riff into a rhythmic dream-like theme and skilful exposition.

Each of these compositions has a unique narrative, conveyed by a finely integrated group of masterful musicians.

LABEL: Vitamin Records

RATING: 4  ½ stars

Alternative Media Group (May 2012)

Australian saxophonist David Ades has teamed up with several New York musicians to record his second album, the first being 1991’s ground-breaking Bird on a Head. Over many years spent living and playing in Asia, the U.S.A. and Australia, Ades has strongly held onto notions of authenticity and tradition whilst all the time attempting to push the boundaries of jazz. 

This can be clearly heard from the moment the album begins, with the catchy yet harmonically diverse La Ripaille. Discordance between Ades and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby bounce off each other, and these transform into a rich dialogue in the slower Melissa. Dreaming in Colour dabbles in avant-garde experimentalism before leading into another impressive saxophone duel, and Philstream is an ode to composer Phil Treloar who opened Ades’ eyes to classical and contemporary music. But however weird and wonky A Glorious Uncertainty may get, the album is constantly underpinned by strong melodic lines that recall Duke Ellington as much as early-20th-century expressionism. 

The unchanging line-up of Ades and Malaby on their respective saxes with Mark Helias on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums also ensures this well-balanced album doesn’t wander too far into overindulgence.