Casey Golden Trio ‘Outliers’ (Scrampion) 4/5

casey-goldenIt’s not too often Sydney, Australia and jazz are used in the same sentence, so it was with both curiosity and apprehension that these ears readied themselves for this new release from Casey Golden (piano/compositions), Bill Williams (bass) and Ed Rodrigues (drums/percussion). Excited first by wonderful cover artwork by Ron Frenz (Marvel/DC Comics) and consistency through the website, it was clear there had been much thought and care spared in the preparation and execution of this album. The opening piece, ‘Flatpack Empire’ lured me in through the contemporary back door, past impressions of ECM and onto front stage where the trio fuse majestically together – with very few years between them, may I add. The clear lead from Casey’s piano drives the album through the title track into ‘Paralysed’, a well-structured and modern piece that leaves the listener most contented. Reaching finalist for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year in 2011, and enjoying as he does, a great deal of listening and reading about new jazz music, the youthful Casey has clearly achieved much with this project, one which can only see greater things ahead of him. There is richness to the overall production of the album, evident more so with ‘Home’ and ‘Us Or Them’ with a fulfilling warm timbre from the bass notes that envelops the listener. The album has a very untypical slant in the absence of solos through the compositions, although each member’s individualism can be easily picked out. The finale ‘One Of Two Places’ sits highest for this listener for the energy it has, but the album is a whole and it’s denouement most satisfying. Whether a stalwart of such names as Jack Brokensha/Bruce Hancock/Ed Gaston, an approachable listener to new names like Matt McMahon and Ben Gurton, or a sponge for all things jazz, perhaps Australia has much more to offer. Maybe Casey Golden will have a place in your collection and stay on our respective radars in anticipation of a UK tour this year, or sometime soon. We wish them every success.

Steve Williams