If jazz music were a character from a story it would be the tortoise from The Tortoise and the Hare. He’s mocked openly, disliked, disregarded and often misunderstood, yet he keeps moving, onwards and onwards, not caring about how he looks to the casual onlooker. Fads will come and go in other genres, but the tortoise doesn’t care, he has an end goal and a desire to reach it. Along the way, he will inspire others to push the idea of what is expected, perhaps someone will look at the tortoise and think what he’s doing is brilliant and look into what he has left behind him. Jazz is ever evolving, shifting and changing, and it does it without many people realising it.
There are powerful forces in the jazz world, new voices that carry the gauntlet and continue to push it further forwards, people like Kamasi Washington build huge bands with the power to create massive soundscapes. It’s impressive and awesome.
Australian violinist (and violist) Tamil Rogeon is a bit of a wanderer, picking up shiny musical styles from around the globe, be it the birthplace of bebop, New York, or the percussive influences of Latin America, he picks things up like a magpie and his six-track album ‘Son of Nyx’ is a culmination or all the best bits.
Viola isn’t an instrument associated with jazz but it works really, really well, it’s dark tones don’t have the intrusiveness of a trumpet of alto sax, it slides in without fanfare but sits perfectly in the mix that is built upon powerful, varied drumming, intelligent percussion and hypnotic rhythms. He has surrounded himself with the best that the flourishing Melbourne jazz scene can provide and not once does it seem lacking in anything. Make no mistake, this is a great jazz album.
Having the confidence to throw in a drum solo after three minutes on the albums opener shows bravery and faith in the listener. Although it only lasts forty seconds or so, the music returns in a different place, the drums acting as a change of mood. Throughout the album, the drums drive the music like they should, but nothing feels forced, these are musicians at ease with each other.
There are hints of bands like Snarky Puppy, the choir voicings of Kamasi Washington and more than a nod to the acid-jazz music of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis, but if you’re going to sound like anybody, why not be mentioned in the same breath as the masters?
I loved this album, from the first note to the last, I was hooked. Jazz is about pioneers and giving a thirsty audience something more, Tamil Rogeon has done this.
If you’re a fan of jazz, search this out. If you’re not a fan of what you think is jazz, search this out, it might change your perception of what the music is.