Album Review: Albare ITD - Long Way

22 May 2012 | 5:55 pm | Jan Wisniewski

It is the strong sense of melody on Long Way that makes it so listenable.

A truly international cast of characters were brought together earlier this year in Brooklyn to record what would become Melbourne-based guitarist Albare's first album for Enja Records. The man known off stage as Albert Dadon has been a pioneering force in the Australian jazz scene since his arrival from France in the '90s. Word of this spread to legendary producer Matthias Winkelmann and the arrangement was made for some of the finest jazz instrumentalists in the world to work with Albare to form Albare iTD (International Travel Diary). The album they created, Long Way, is subtle in its innovation. It offers accessibility to all fans of music, not purely jazz enthusiasts.

Albare and long-time collaborator Evripidis Evripedou composed the melodic groundwork for the album before heading into the recording sessions. It is the strong sense of melody on Long Way that makes it so listenable. Yet the players never give in fully to this idea. The considerable skill of each musician becomes apparent during the long jazzy interludes, and a wonderful synergy is achieved. Albare's guitar work is often the force that keeps this album grounded. His sharp guitar lines run through every song and at times rise above the other instruments in a chorus-like nature. However he in no way dominates the album to its detriment, often setting up the melodic base before his guitar sinks back into a supporting role. The tenor saxophone of George Garzone and Hendrik Meurkens' harmonica both push through the mix at certain times, with Meurken's harmonica work especially captivating. Pianist Leo Genovese shifts the members of the ensemble out of their comfort zone with his forceful technique, working well amongst the otherwise smooth sound of the album. Long Way does not waste any of the considerable talent it has at its disposal. The January sessions in Brooklyn produced a worthy contribution to add to Albare's considerable legacy.