Ross McHenry ‘Nothing Remains Unchanged’ LP (First Word) 4/5

‘Nothing Remains Unchanged’ is the brand new release for the multi-talented Ross McHenry marking his third solo project for the incredible First Word Records.

Ross McHenry projects have long inspired a real interest from me. Putting aside the outstanding quality usually associated with McHenry’s output, it’s the sheer unpredictability of his releases that have always grabbed me. As a bassist, producer and composer from Adelaide, Australia, McHenry so fluently displays a genuine chameleonic talent when creating such a variety of music.

The Transatlantics self-titled 2010 release through Freestyle Records displayed McHenry in full funk and soul mode and was a project swiftly followed by the Fela Kuti and afrobeat inspired collective, The Shaolin Afronauts. Again released through Freestyle Records, The Shaolin Afronauts boast three full-length projects to their name including ‘Follow The Path’ (2014), ‘Quest Under Capricorn’ (2012) and ‘Flight of the Ancients’ (2011) and have gone on to become one of the most beloved names associated with Freestyle and their continual celebration of contemporary funk, soul and afrobeat.

And to further expand on McHenry’s chameleonic abilities, last year’s album, ‘Chasing Gold’, by Melbourne vocalist Chelsea Wilson absolutely warrants mention again for being a complete change of pace with what listeners may have come to expect from McHenry’s music. Serving as the producer for the album, ‘Chasing Gold’ was a contemporary disco-infused soul release in the vein of the revered Elektra era recordings of Patrice Rushen amongst other influences.

‘Nothing Remains Unchanged’ is the third instalment of McHenry’s solo releases with First Word Records – who are themselves visionaries when it comes to contemporary perspectives of jazz as evidenced through some of their incredible releases by Teotima and 14KT – and provide a wonderful platform for McHenry to showcase his skill as a leading talent within contemporary jazz.

While past albums have featured line-ups including Mark de Clive-Lowe, Corey King, Marcus Strickland and Myele Manzanza, ‘Nothing Remains Unchanged’ sees McHenry recruit the talents of saxophonist Ben Wendel (Kneebody, Gerald Clayton), pianist Matthew Sheens (Myele Manzanza, Quentin Angus) and drummer Eric Harland (Theo Croker, Joey Alexander) for an exquisite project that seems to bask in the notion of perhaps, both, people’s personal evolution as well as that of the society and people around us. While ‘Complicated Us’ kicks the project off with the high energy combination of frenetic drumming and dissonant sax, other compositions are more serene like the superb ten minute ‘This I Give To You’. ‘Perspectives’ is another standout of the album, beautifully composed as it shifts in pace throughout seemingly remaining true to its title.

‘Nothing Remains Unchanged’ is another beautiful project taking pride of place amongst McHenry’s releases along with that of First Word Records as well.

Imran Mirza

Read also:
Ross McHenry Trio ‘The Outsiders’ LP/CD (First Word) 4/5