21st Century Blues and Swing drawn from the deepest wells of Jazz tradition. Featuring Heather Stewart on vocals and violin with Australia's best Jazz musicians.
I come at music as a jazz dancer. And jazz dance is a response to jazz and blues music. It is about the excitement and euphoria of hot jazz and swing, the energy of high tempos and bright emotion. But it is also about the shared moment of a sustained note, the spaces between counts, and the connections between people.
In these recordings the musicians leave each other space and time to get their jobs done. No one rushes anything. As a swing dancer, this is exactly what I want to hear: there is nothing cool about rushing, and jazz is all about being fashionably late to a party. Then spending most of the night in the kitchen eating and telling dirty jokes.
The thing that I like about this album is that it begins in a very traditional blues realm of the senses, then charts a trajectory from the 1920s to the modern moment. Ending with a live recording seems most appropriate: this is old art, but it still has use and meaning and value in the current moment.
I am perhaps best familiar with the New Sheiks' work as a band playing for dancers at social dances, and as a collaborator with my friends and teachers in the Melbourne Rhythm Project. This group begins with the informal social conversation between jazz musician and jazz dancer and takes it to the more formal relationship of the stage. Yet they still manage to embody the very point of jazz: improvisation and innovation. Conversation. Social engagement.
This album is not only something to sit and listen to, and think about. It is, more importantly, something with practical, physical use value. There's music here that makes for very good dancing. It makes you want to get up, to let your backbone slip, and to stop thinking.
- Sam Carroll Sydney September 2014
Track 1 is originally from the session that produced 'The Sales Tax' (LBQ2012) and was recorded at C.I.T Canberra by Mark Webber in November 2011. Mixed by Jem Savage and re-mastered by Rob 'Wacko' Hunter.
Tracks 2-5 and 8 recorded at HiHat studios, Canberra in December 2012. Engineered and mixed by Greg Stott (and Mark Sutton).
Track 6 and 7 Recorded December 30th 2012, Originally commissioned for 'Sunday Live' on ABC Classic FM - produced and engineered by Haig Burnell
Bonus track recorded on a 'Zoom H2' by Matt Boden at 'Vivaldi's Theatre Restaurant', December 2013.
Produced and Mixed by Leigh Barker and Greg Stott.
Mastered By Rob (Wacko!) Hunter at The Attic.
Album graphic design by Hetty Kate Pakenham - 'Pixels at Dawn'
Photography by Nick Monk and Tadryn Gregory