Jazz ensemble Menagerie release 4th album ‘The Shores Of Infinity’

Sep 1st, 2023

Category: news

Jazz ensemble Menagerie release 4th album ‘The Shores Of Infinity’

2 years since their last full-length Many Worlds, Australian spiritual jazz ensemble Menagerie are back with their 4th album The Shores Of Infinity, further expanding their sound into a forward-looking, rhythm-heavy expression of contemporary jazz that is steeped in the tradition but somehow also defies genre pigeonholing.

The title track sees California-based spoken word alchemist Thee Cosmic Poet dropping wisdom over the undulating, hypnotic drums of Felix Bloxsom, before the whole track builds into an epic climax with the incendiary, apocalyptic tenor saxophone work of Phil Noy.

Lead single Kingdom builds a groove with sinewy bass, phased-out fender rhodes and angular horn lines. The second section opens into a syncopated vehicle for the masterful trumpet of Ross Irwin. Here is contemporary live jazz-funk influenced in equal parts by the music of West London’s broken beat movement as well as Roy Ayers and Donald Byrd.

Later, the soaring & uplifting vibe of “Earthrise” evokes a feeling of joyous reflection. Modal jazz expertly performed by virtuoso pianist Mark Fitzgibbon, whose pedigree includes performing with the likes of Lee Konitz and Mark Murphy, as well as being part of the house band at Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge‘s legendary Dingwalls Jazz-Dance sessions.

“Arrival” is a sprawling, 9-minute long foray into the afro-jazz realm, based on an ostinato piano/ bass line whose momentum pushes bandleader Lance Ferguson into an extended guitar solo that builds and builds.

The cyclic chord progression of “Of” swirls and spins to create a haunting musical maelstrom. The main melody is stated by the horn section and then repeated by the haunting vocal choir. Mark Fitzgibbon delivers a heavy solo on the fender rhodes before Phil Noy returns with a devastating soprano solo.

Album closer “Danieda’s Dance” pairs the full 9-piece Menagerie lineup back to a classic quartet format for an extended excursion in 3/4 jazz modality. Once again saxophonist Phil Noy turns the intensity level into the red with a searing tenor solo that steadfastly peaks, all the while fuelled by the fiery drum work of Felix Bloxsom.

‘The Shores Of Infinity’  out on LP / CD / Digital on Sep 2nd 2023 via Freestyle