Wanderlust - When in Rome

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2008 release

This new Wanderlust disc When in Rome, Wanderlust’s first live CD, presents a performance at the famous jazz festival at Villa Celimontana. Staged near the Colosseum in the gardens of one of the great Roman villas, the event has run through the summer months for more than 1years, and features bands from all over the world.

This was their second visit to the Villa and the recording captures the wonderful atmosphere and connection between band and audience.

The musicians who have played in or with Wanderlust over the years are in many ways a phalanx of vibrant contributors to Australian music: Wanderlust’s leader Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet, flugelhorn) and James Greening (trombone, didjeridu) have a long history of collaboration in various salsa bands in the early ‘80s, then groups led by funk maestro Jackie Orszaczky (Jump Back Jack, Industrial Accident, Hungarian Rap Sadists), Mark Simmonds’ Freeboppers, Ten Part Invention led by John Pochée, and Bukovsky’s Major Minority; Alister Spence (piano, keyboards) and Steve Elphick from that compelling band Clarion Fracture Zone; the fantastic drummer/percussionist Greg Sheehan also played in the Freeboppers and Major Minority.

They brought their own musical ideas and personalities to an increasingly diverse scene that mixed elements of post bop, free jazz, Latin, African, funk, Electronica, and their own musical heritage (Bukovsky came from Czechoslovakia, Fabian Hevia [drums] from Chile). As a result, the band is influenced by folk music from many parts of the world, but without imitating those influences.

On this occasion they were joined by former bass player Adam Armstrong, for some years now resident in NYC. The disc also includes a guest performance by a remarkable oud player, Joseph Tawadros.

Our dear friend Daniele ‘Chipster’ Di Giovanni was live sound engineer at this performance; he had the presence of mind to press the ‘record’ button, as a recording was not planned.

These pieces from two 60 minutes sets are a cross-section from Wanderlust’s repertoire of the last 1years, while favouring the more textural, ambient sounds. The playing is freer and more exuberant compared to some of the studio discs, so, even though the sound quality may not be 100 percent HI FI at times, it’s a very good account of Wanderlust in full flight.

Recorded at Villa Celimontana near Rome’s famous Colosseum, When In Rome captures Wanderlust in fine form. As usual, the band crosses diverse stylistic terrain, from the tropical rhythms of Samba Nova to the African high-life of Pressure Makes Diamonds to the late-night balladry of MDD…The diverse musical influences in [Dakar} go to show how apt the band’s title is. Czech-born Bukovsky is a world traveller who has brought sundry ethnomusical influences to the music. Add a Chilean (Hevia), an Egyptian (Tawadros) and three Anglo-Aussies and have them perform in Italy, and this album is the result. When Tennyson wrote in 184“I am a part of all that I have met” he could well have been describing this group. What Tennyson didn’t point out is that what we meet also becomes a part of ourselves. Wanderlust is part of a diverse and vast world of music, yet it sometimes seems that the entire world of musical influences has been distilled into this one band. The result sounds neither derivative nor contrived. Instead we sense a unique and original musical vision which is informed by jazz, Latin, funk and world music. When In Rome may well satisfy your own wanderlust, and you can do it from the comfort of your armchair.
Aaron Searle Music Forum

Not all Tuesdays are special. Some are set aside for getting over the shock of Monday, or just shaking away the feeling that life no longer holds any surprises. But for the lucky jazz lovers who got in early, the Gods Cafe promises a great treat with connoisseur music from Australian jazz staple Wanderlust who play to a fully booked house tonight.

Coming to national attention in 199after their self-titled debut won an ARIA for Best Jazz Release, this performance will also be an unofficial launch of Wanderlust's first live album, When in Rome. Recorded in Italy three years ago at the Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival, the album captures the band in its second visit to the festival, and the music is full of spontaneity, passion, depth and space.

When in Rome is a cross-section from the band's repertoire of the past 1years with more "textual, ambient sounds".

In the competitive international market, Wanderlust has risen by not inhabiting purely traditional territory. "I'm Czech, the drummer [Fabian Hevia] is from Chile, the rest of them are all Australian from various backgrounds," band leader Mike Bukovsky (trumpet, flugel) says.

"We really bring our own cultural backgrounds to the music. In the case of the drummer, there are a lot of South American rhythms, mainly Brazilian rhythms, and a combination of European type of melodies mixed with the jazz."

Bukovsky, who moved to Canberra permanently in 1999 to take up a teaching position with the ANU School of Music, also credits not following mainstream American jazz as reason for the group's sound.

"Essentially what I'm after is to not imitate American jazz, which works to our advantage to some extent in Europe. Europeans are really flooded during festival season with American bands. They don't want to hear another Australian band imitating Americans."
This approach has opened Wanderlust's music to a greater sensitivity, giving it, as reviewer John Clare commented, quite a "cosmopolitan" sound. Fusing traditional jazz composition with unexpected instruments such as the oud and didgeridoo, the band has been described has having an almost "world music" feel. When Wanderlust came together from groups such as Clarion Fracture Zone, Major Minority, Ten Part Invention, and Jump Back Jack, members brought their personalities and experience to the fore. Mixing elements of "post bop, free jazz, Latin, African, funk, Electronica, and their own musical heritage", Wanderlust heralded a new age in Australian contemporary jazz when it burst on to the scene in the early 1990s.

With Bukovsky at the Gods Cafe will be two of the group's founding members, James Greening (trombone, didgeridoo) and Alister Spence (piano, keyboards). Bukovsky met Greening while playing in Newcastle during the early '80s, performing cover songs in what was the remnants of Marcia Hines's backing group. This was the start of a long-term collaborative relationship. "We have kind of a telepathy between the trombone and the trumpet," Bukovsky says.

Spence, who is recognised as "one of the country's finest pianists and composers in contemporary jazz", has been commissioned to write music for a host of projects, including the award-winning ABC documentary Breaking Through and short film Journey, winner of Best Original Film Score at the Edge of the World Film Festival in 199

The remaining original Wanderlust members are pursuing careers in different parts of the world, leaving room for Fabian Hevia (drums), Jeremy Sawkins (guitar), and Zoe Hauptman (bass) to step into the line-up. Original bass player Adam Armstrong now lives in New York and original guitarist Carl Orr now lives and plays in London.

With four studio albums also in its catalogue (Wanderlust, Boarder Crossing, Song and Dance and Full Bronte), Bukovsky says it's high time the band looked toward releasing a fifth. "Definitely. We're ' certainly overdue for a studio recording."

In the meantime, When in Rome should more than satisfy. Arne Sjostedt TIMES 2

In 1991, the Catholics and Wanderlust had debut appearances almost within a week of each other. Many of the musicians were jazz-oriented but they brought their skills and freewheeling attitude to a range of multi-ethnic material. Both bands are still with us and each provides, almost inevitably, a happy, exciting and musically inventive live experience. Each has made a number of satisfying records.

In their appearance at the 15th Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival, Wanderlust were joined by Egyptian Australian Joseph Towadros, a renowned exponent of the oud (see Egyptian Fusion review above). The interaction of the oud with James Greening's trombone and Alister Spence's electronics on the track Dakar is particularly soulful, mysterious and plangent. This is a band of brilliant musicians who combine gloriously.

The energy is on the exciting edge of looseness. Miroslav Bukovsky's trumpet and flugelhorn are rarely heard delights.
John Clare SYDNEY MORNING HERALD


ARIA-award winning ensemble Wanderlust is among a select group of Australian acts – The Catholics and Way Out West are others – that straddle world music and jazz genres. When In Rome, recorded live at an Italian jazz festival within cooee of the Colosseum, sees the Sydney band simultaneously dipping into its rich back catalogue and palette of global colours. Elements of post-bop and funk are seamlessly blended with Latin, African and Arabic rhythms and inflections in Wanderlust’s marvellous melting pot.

Adding a significant extra factor is special guest Joseph Towadros’s oud, an instrument rarely featured in a jazz setting. Two of When In Rome’s six tracks kick off with the young maestro’s Egyptian lute. ‘Dakar’ starts with a protracted call and response dialogue between oud and double bass, and ends with the oud on its own. In between, Towadros holds down a motif over which Miroslav Bukovsky solos on Miles Davis-influenced muted trumpet, then flugelhorn that sounds more like a Turkish ney. James Greening’s didgeridoo provides added texture.

On ‘Pressure makes Diamonds’ oud again opens with bass, the latter holding a classic South African Township line. In ‘Bronte Café’ – a track as bright and breezy as the Sydney beach suburb from which it takes its name – Towadros takes a middle eight or two; on ‘MDD’ he adds Arabic ambience. Alister Spence’s piano playing is most prominent on the opening Brazilian romp ‘Samba Nova’ and the more circumspect ‘Delicatessence’. Tony Hillier RHYTHMS
 

(9399033307721)

SKU 9399033307721
Barcode # 9399033307721
Brand Australian Independent - Rufus Records

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