ASD_SEWWSAW_72DPI.png
Review

Jamie Oehlers by night

22 August 2019

  • Reading time • 3 minutes
  • More like this

Review: Jamie Oehlers, ‘Night Music’ ⋅
Album released May 2019 ⋅
Review by Ron Banks ⋅

Tenor saxophonist Jamie Oehlers is one of the busiest and most creative jazz musicians to come out of Perth. His latest album Night Music is his tenth to date in a two-decade career that now combines performance and recording with his duties as an academic in the jazz studies course at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Like many of his colleagues in WAAPA’s jazz course, Oehlers is a product of that same course, adding a recent PhD to his long list of achievements. In fact his album Night Music is based on the theory of his PhD, which bears the title “Developing a Chromatic –Intervallic Approach to the Jazz Improvisation through Reflexive Practice.”

It’s the kind of title to cause apoplexy in the die-hard jazz fan who does not put much faith in academic approaches to music-making. But in layman’s terms it means Oehlers has developed a technique for improving a young musician’s skills at improvisation, the bedrock of any jazz musician’s creativity.

Tenor saxophonist and composer Jamie Oehlers. Photo supplied

What such a project does reveal is that musicians such as Oehlers are testing their creativity, coming up with new ideas, or developing ways to improve old ideas.

What matters in the end is the kind of music that comes out of the end of the saxophone and in Night Music, Oehlers’ instrument is full of ideas that he explores with the help of Ricki Malet on trumpet, Harry Mitchell on piano, Zac Grafton on bass and Ben Vanderwal on drums. The album was recorded in Crank Studios in Perth, with Oehlers writing all the compositions.

As the title suggests, Night Music was inspired by the sounds of the night, more specifically by the sounds of New York in the hours between sunset and dawn when the city is not so much sleeping as alive to the restlessness and energy of a major megalopolis refusing to accept the need for slumber.

The album is filled with spiky sounds, urgent rhythms,  splashes of colour and bouts of lyricism that are not so much designed to smooth the soul as keep it awake. It is not one of those albums you turn to ease your way to sleep just past midnight.

The opening track’s title Sleep Thief is suggestive of the whole enterprise because Oehlers aims not to put you to sleep to sleep but rob you of sleep by coming up with ideas that will reinvigorate you. The compositions are demanding in the sense that there are often dissonances in the music and sometimes unsettling sounds that take some getting used to. But it is an album whose qualities improve with repeated listening.

Night Music is available as a download or on CD.

Picture top: Jamie Oehlers. Photo supplied.

Like
0
Love
0
Haha
0
Wow
0
Sad
0
Grrr
0
Rosalind Appleby

Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

Past Articles

  • Kelly and Ledger take flight

    A few songs lacked impact, but on the whole, Rosalind Appleby enjoyed ‘Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds’.

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Haha
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0
  • Songlines come to life

    Rosalind Appleby finds herself transported to Gurrumul’s country in Perth Festival’s powerful show, Bungul.

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Haha
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0

Read Next

  • Ancient and modern intertwine
    Review

    Ancient and modern intertwine

    18 February 2020

    Two exhibitions, ‘All Mixed Up’ and’ Janangoo’, remind Miranda Johnson that Indigenous art has much to say about contemporary Australia.

    Like
    1
    Love
    0
    Haha
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0
    Reading time • 6 minutesPerth Festival
  • Kelly and Ledger take flight
    Review

    Kelly and Ledger take flight

    17 February 2020

    A few songs lacked impact, but on the whole, Rosalind Appleby enjoyed ‘Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds’.

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Haha
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0
    Reading time • 4 minutesPerth Festival
  • Musical worlds collide
    Review

    Musical worlds collide

    17 February 2020

    ‘Quartet & Country’ captivates Bourby Webster with its brilliant combination of music from different times and places.

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Haha
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0
    Reading time • 5 minutesPerth Festival

Cleaver Street Studio

Join the conversation

Seesaw Magazine

What’s in a
name?