When I first heard Kevin Field’s piano playing – nearly two decades ago now – I likened it to the work McCoy Tyner offered up on several key John Coltrane recordings. There was just something there in the tone, in the spacing, the phrasing – and there it is again toward the end of the opening track on Dog’s eponymous debut album; Dog being an Auckland jazz super-group featuring Field with Roger Manins (sax), Ron Samsom (drums) and Olivier Holland (bass). Man can these guys blow.
On that aforementioned opener, the nine-minute Push Biker, Manins blisters along inside the groove to eventual lush life his way towards a Coltrane-esque tenor sound, Samsom does the rolling and tumbling underneath and around and it’s easy to think of that classic Coltrane quartet sound.
For Road to Damascus it’s to stately piano voicings and then for Dideldideldei a sharp brittle funk feel allows Manins to coast out over Field’s lush stride.
Icebreaker hits a light Latin feel, hiding it inside remnants of cool bop, a lovely billowy sound from Manins as the leader on that track, Field again seemingly making (new) time within the spaces inside his solo.
Samsom and Holland have each contributed a couple of the compositions, with Field and Manins serving up three each. It’s another close-to-perfect offering from Rattle – following on from the recent Jonathan Crayford album; a showcase for some very fine musicianship, tasteful and always just ever so slightly understated, never showy or flashy but on point, full of energy still. Worth hearing – one of the best local jazz albums I’ve had in some time.