28 March 2012

Review: Nathan Haines 'The Poet's Embrace'

The Poet's Embrace

"Jazz is not a young man's game if it's to be in some way up there with the real thing." -- Nathan Haines

Thisis a quite remarkable statement: seemingly loaded with humility and a knowledge gained from years spent in the trenches; it could also illustrate nicely the elitist attitude befitting a "proper" jazz musician unconcerned with lesser mortals. This is the dichotomy of Nathan Haines. One of our finest musicians, Haines is internationally recognised and respected, yet he has a reputation for rubbing people up the wrong way. Is it envy? Jealousy? Perhaps, when you're capable of making music as gorgeous as this, it doesn't really matter...? Whatever your opinion about the man, it cannot be argued The Poet's Embrace, his eighth album, is immensely likeable, full of subtlety and nuance, vim and vigour, excitement and intelligence. (A bit like Haines himself, then.) Produced by Mike Patto (Reel People) and recorded completely live - with a quartet featuring the magnificent Kevin Field (piano) alongside Thomas Botting (bass) and Alain Koetsier (drums) - the album was completed in two sessions, utilising a range of vintage recording techniques. That's right: no drum loops, synths or guest vocalists in sight. This is proper jazz played by proper jazz musicians worthy of immersing yourself in regardless of your age, or experience with jazz music.

4 stars from 5

Listen to Murry Sweetpants and I discussing The Poet's Embrace (among other things) on his Radio Ponsonby Breakfast Show here. Enjoy.

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