Rattledog! – The Chicago Sessions
Greg Crayford’s regular jazz session features his band Pleasure Point – a loose collective as much as one defined band, for it features some of the big names in Wellington jazz, something of a rotating cast. Hear Nick Granville on guitar, Norman Meehan’s piano, Nils Olsen on sax, the very fine double-bass playing of both Nick Tipping and Patrick Bleakley. You turn up on the night and you get a great set – and that magic has been captured here with an album that features one guest/soloist per track.
So we open with Norman Meehan gliding across his title tune before Granville’s guitar sets the tone (and pace) across Alone Together. A fresh, bluesy scurry with whispered brushes over the snare, before popping into a wee pounce.
Crayford steers the ship across so many of the tracks here, his hi-hats establishing a groove on Caravan for the flight of Michelle Scullion’s flute.
Simon Jones does his Sinatra-best on Fly Me To The Moon. Andrew London supplies some humour on Sweet As before some show-tune oomph from Ann Pacey on Hard-Hearted Hannah.
There’s the something-for-everyone here, a real treat for jazz fans. And then the closing outro, a truncated return to Fly Me To The Moon, a performance cut short by Wellington’s earthquake from 2013. It’s either funny, or chilling, or both – in a laugh-because-what-else-do-you-do kind of way. It’s certainly a reminder of the conditions a working band has to face. And this band serves up the work here. Hand-picked originals and lovingly covered standards.