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REVIEW: JAVA QUARTET - REJAVANATION
Rejavanation

Java Quartet
Rejavanation

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ntnews.com.au - August 2010
THERE was something a little off when I walked into the Lighthouse ready to enjoy the Java Quartet.

It had to do with the crisp riesling in my hand.

My past experience of jazz has involved dimly lit, smokey bars and large glasses of expensive red. But the Java Quartet was ready to challenge my expectation of jazz.

Playing under the fairy lights resulted in a multitude of colours bouncing off each instrument, lifting the mood of the whole show.

Even mellow songs were played with joy; and the choregraphy between each musician was perfectly balanced to allow all to shine.

Group leader Michael Galeazzi thrived in the Tropical environment - at one stage begging artistic director Jo Duffy to bring him back for next year's Festival.

He promised to bring his 'friends' with him, including festival favourite, hip hop artist Morganics.

I can't imagine how beat boxing will fit in with the chilled sounds of the Java Quartet but, after this week's performance, I'll be lining up to buy tickets.



Eric Pozza - Dir. Canberra Jazz, 14th Aug 2010

Michael Galeazzi of the Java Quartet was telling me of a mate and PhD studies in music. He was investigating how different performers in a band see the same gig in different ways. It’s an interesting study, and I guess any highly trained performance art person must have experienced it. Jazz can be quite an emotional roller-coaster, but it’s part of the commitment and fascination and seriousness of it all. The time the band was in accord, after this Java Quartet gig at the University of Canberra, as was the audience. This was a great gig. Michael was up front, happy and joking and enjoying every minute. The percussion section (here I include the beatboxer along with the more obvious drums and tabla) were throwing challenges back and forth and revelling in the different sounds and styles of each of their instruments. Greg on piano and Matthew on tenor were laconic and cool but their blissful interplay said it all. This was the first gig of the tour to launch the Java Quartet’s new CD, Rejavanation, and the quartet was accompanied by two of its CD guests, Morganics on beatbox and freestyle rap, and Bobby Singh on tabla. It’s something I like, this fertile, cross-cultural experiment. It worked a treat and the band’s response just confirmed it.

I wondered if rejavanation hinted at rejuvenation, because there were a series of tunes from older JQ CDs that had been reimagined for the new CD and this concert. The album cover describes each tune by a style: trance, ambient dub, boom bap, etc.. The CD’s press release explains the music as a component of Michael’s Master studies at the Sydney Con, exploring “notions of hybridity through contemporary hypnotic landscapes” through the “meditative aesthetics of contemporary dj/dance culture and Hindustani ragas”. Intriguing and different, interesting beyond the jazz field, and obviously entertaining for the band. Because getting back to the band, they were having a great time.

Firstly I noticed the wonderful rhythmic feels. Drummer Mike was intense at surprisingly low volumes, then letting go at the end with double kick pedal; fabulous interplays between the complex tika-tak of the tabla and jazz drums and even vocal percussion; the way the beat squared up for the beatboxing from the more swung jazz segments. Then the simple, repeating melodies accompanied by moving chordal harmonies or echoing piano lines and the rippling piano and fluttering tenor bursting into full blown sax solos over intense and busy grooves. And the frequent bass solos on a Whitehead SASE that were sharp and edgy, but surprisingly deep in the recording I made on the night. Not at all strict jazz, but obviously jazz informed, and one branch of where it’s heading as it touches on other valid forms. Solos that just appeared from a band that has played together for years, and shows an unspoken interplay. There was even a ballad in there, a deeply felt, sparse thing of synth swells then sax then a touch of percussion. The whole was structurally and chordally simple, but subtly mobile and with an underlying percussive intensity. And it was even political, perhaps more validly than the current election. I missed most of the rap lines, but caught a few that spoke of Brisvegas: “Visions, valleys, concrete”; and refugees: “sometimes / we find / that time”, “sometimes / the best form of attack / is defence” and then a rap in 15 languages.

It was an intriguing jazz for a modern ear, and a mix of styles for a modern world. Great stuff. And very much enjoyed by performers and audience. The Java Quartet are Michael Galeazzi (acoustic bass), Greg Coffin (piano), Matthew Ottignon (tenor sax) and Mike Quigley (drums). Their guests were Bobby Singh (tabla) and Morganics (beatboxing, freestyling).



Roger Mitchell - Sun Herald Review 'Play' 15th August 2010

JUSTIFIABLY The Java Quartet has many loyal fans. But will they follow bandleader Michael Galeazzi on his postgraduate research relating transcendental qualities of modal jazz (Miles, Coltrane) to traditional Hindustani music and modern dance electronica?

Fans of digital culture may rave at the result, dubbed “jazz you can dare to dance to”, in which a hip-hop artist, vocalist, sarod and tabla players join Galeazzi (bass), Matthew Ottignon (sax), Greg Coffin (piano) and Mike Quigley (drums).

Yet lovers of the quartet’s five previous albums may prefer the originals of tracks re-imagined here. Some — Little Boy, Shadow Dancing — seem to add on, not re-invent. Galeazzi’s challenge — partly met — is to forge a new unity from these disparate influences.

File between: Flanger, Bill Laswell
***







Jessica Nicholas - The Age (Melbourne) Saturday 21st August 2010


The seeds of the Java Quartet’s latest CD (Rejavanation) were sown when composer-bassist Michael Galeazzi started exploring the connections between modal jazz and other trance-inducing forms of music – both old and new. The result is an intriguing amalgam of contemporary jazz, North Indian percussion and digital beats, where the bandmembers interact with programmed samples and electronic dance rhythms.

Since the CD was recorded, Galeazzi and his colleagues have been developing the project for a concert environment, replacing the sampled parts with live musicians whilst maintaining the hypnotic, multi-layered feel of the recording. The core members of the Sydney-based quartet (Galeazzi, saxophonist Matthew Ottignon, pianist Greg Coffin and drummer Mike Quigley) are currently touring the country to launch Rejavanation.

The band will perform at Bennetts Lane tomorrow night, with two additional Java Men to help recreate the quartet’s human-digital sonic hybrid on stage: Bobby Singh (on tablas) and hip-hop producer/beat-boxer Morganics.




Tony Hillier - The AGE


THE sixth album in 15 years from Sydney's Java Quartet introduces a new musical palette for the group led by bassist Michael Galeazzi, who composed these seven tracks. Described as an eclectic romp through digital beats, the music incorporates aspects of hip-hop, electro-jazz, drum 'n' bass, Hindustani music and serious improvisation; it's an adventurous collection of new, remixed and reinvented material.

The idea is to weave the band's acoustic improvisers -- pianist Greg Coffin, drummer Mike Quigley and Matthew Ottignon on saxophone -- into digital soundscapes. No doubt some younger audience members will find plenty here to enjoy. All tracks have short explanatory labels appended. Yeah Man (boom bap) brings Bobby Singh on tablas and Adrian McNeil's sarod to the fore against digital beats, hip-hop and sampling, a combination that may be an acquired taste. Only You (nu soul) features vocalist Linda Janssen delivering a pleasant sounding ballad with a fine solo from Ottignon and a repetitive hip-hop beat throughout. A murky opening to an out-of-tempo Nursery Crimes (ambient dub) leads to some mystical saxophone from guest Richard Maegraith and atmospheric piano passages. Influences from Indian music and digital effects from rock and hip-hop are being increasingly heard in jazz groups, but it remains to be seen whether Java's fan base will enjoy this latest release.
***1/2


John Shand - Sydney Morning Herald
It's 65 years since rock'n'roll routed jazz as the popular music of the day. The 1990's "acid jazz" fad and it's "nu Jazz" sequel were, in part, attempts to restore it. Now the Java Quartet's leader and bassist, Michael Galeazzi, has married some of the Sydney band's past material to recent music forms.

Where he, saxophonist Mathew Ottignon, pianist Greg Coffin and drummer Mike Quigley have usually made moody acoustic jazz, here they are often a supporting cast for beats and samples.

The hypnotic 'Wedding Song' is revisited as"trance" music, with an acoustic drum beat and Bobby Singh's tablas wandering in and out.

'Nursery Crimes' becomes "ambient dub", the piano notes like raindrops against a window of swishing brushes and sparse bass and the saxophone initially mixed down, as though outside that window.

The new 'Yeah Man' has a slow electronic beat, a repeated motif from Adrian McNeil's sarod (decorated with Singh's tablas) and rapping from Morganics.

'Shadow Dancing' is reinvented as "Euro Trash", with chattering electronic beat and polyester synth washes. Linda Janssen adds R&B vocals to the "nu soul" synthetic beat of 'Only You', which could do business in the clubs.

Whether the "glitch translation" of the ballad 'Little Boy' does much for Ottignon's breathy saxophone is debatable, but 'In The Swim' seems happy riding on a swift drum'n'bass current. Good Fun.
***1/2


John McBeath - The Australian September 2010
THE sixth album in 15 years from Sydney's Java Quartet introduces a new musical palette for the group led by bassist Michael Galeazzi, who composed these seven tracks.

Described as an eclectic romp through digital beats, the music incorporates aspects of hip-hop, electro-jazz, drum 'n' bass, Hindustani music and serious improvisation; it's an adventurous collection of new, remixed and reinvented material. The idea is to weave the band's acoustic improvisers -- pianist Greg Coffin, drummer Mike Quigley and Matthew Ottignon on saxophone -- into digital soundscapes. No doubt some younger audience members will find plenty here to enjoy. All tracks have short explanatory labels appended. Yeah Man (boom bap) brings Bobby Singh on tablas and Adrian McNeil's sarod to the fore against digital beats, hip-hop and sampling, a combination that may be an acquired taste. Only You (nu soul) features vocalist Linda Janssen delivering a pleasant sounding ballad with a fine solo from Ottignon and a repetitive hip-hop beat throughout. A murky opening to an out-of-tempo Nursery Crimes (ambient dub) leads to some mystical saxophone from guest Richard Maegraith and atmospheric piano passages.

Influences from Indian music and digital effects from rock and hip-hop are being increasingly heard in jazz groups, but it remains to be seen whether Java's fan base will enjoy this latest release.

***1/2




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