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The Jac

[ Rattle Jazz / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 10 January 2014

The Jac started out as a rehearsal band for students and tutors at the NZSM jazz school in Wellington, transcribing and performing charts by New York and San Francisco composers. Before long they began writing and performing their own music, and Nerve is the result, a suite of intelligent, dynamic compositions for jazz octet.

Describing themselves as a 'small big band', The Jac is a tight eight-piece ensemble that performs with attitude and intensity. "That's one of the cool things about the group," says Callum Allardice. "We sit halfway between a combo and a big band, which allows us to draw from both."

The band tackle styles and grooves rarely associated with large ensembles. Improvisation is integral to each piece, written into the work rather than separated from it, and their sound encompasses a wide palette of colours and textures. It's uncommon for jazz ensembles to play music as highly arranged as this, but smaller size allows for more intimacy and interaction.

"There's tension and energy in our music, and an emotional element that seems to resonate with people," says Jake Baxendale. "It's technically difficult and requires lots of rehearsal, but we're aiming for as much simplicity and directness as possible."

The group plan to write and perform as much as possible in the coming months, to open up their sound more, expose it to more influences, and to record new material while it's fresh and vibrant. Rattle plans to be there with them …

"New Zealand jazz has been increasingly delivering not just interesting but quite exceptional albums, and because they just keep coming -- many through the estimable Rattle Jazz imprint -- you get a feeling of continuity and growth. Rattle… [with its] unimpeachable track record in releasing beautifully produced, impressively packaged, award-winning contemporary classical and elsewhere albums, [has now made] a serious foray into jazz."

Graham Reid, Elsewhere


New York Axel Man (7:38)
Armada (7:00)
Marik (6:26)
Thieves in the Night (7:55)
Major Major Major (8:24)