Artefact by Jeremy Sawkins’ Organ Quartet, review by John McBeath


Album:  Artefact
Artist:   Jeremy Sawkins’ Organ Quartet
Release Date: 2016
Label:    Independent

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Sydney-based guitarist Jeremy Sawkins, formed an organ trio in 2004 with drummer Dave Goodman and organist Darren Heinrich, who appears here in the quartet. Sawkins moved to Ireland later that year, remaining in Dublin for two years to play with many top musicians and teaching at the Newpark Music Centre.

Returning to Sydney in 2006 the guitarist reunited with organist Heinrich, and has since added saxophonist Spike Mason and Toby Hall on drums for this all-Sydney group.

Opening with Mason’s Blues for Sera, the organ provides a calming atmosphere at first and gradually builds the blues format behind the alto sax solo to introduce Sawkins’s solo before Heinrich’s Hammond climbs into a swinging Lonnie Smith-style passage leading to the re-statement conclusion.

An unexpected selection is the traditional piece She Moved Through the Fair, beginning with an out-of-tempo organ and guitar sound-wash, soon joined by the sax, before the guitar wanders abstractedly.
Funny Farm is a Sawkins post-bop original led by unison guitar and sax ahead of the guitar taking off before providing chordal stabs under the sax solo; while Heinrich’s composition Hello, Goodbye slows the tempo for a ballad-like number with a laid-back sax exploration.

Mason’s second contribution, Tobes Malone features a ‘tock tock’ rhythm behind a quite interesting theme to which organ, alto and guitar all add solos.

This is a collection of well-played music by competent musicians that makes for pleasant enough listening, even though the overall result sometimes seems to suffer from a certain lack of focus.

Review originally published by the Australian

For just over 24 years I have been a freelance writer, publishing in that time a wide variety of genres: news items, live concert reviews, travel articles, features, personality profiles, and CD and book reviews. I have written for various in-flight magazines, The Adelaide Review, The Republican, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Advertiser, The Melbourne Herald Sun and several regional newspapers. In 1994 I won a national travel-writing prize sponsored by The Australian newspaper, which led to my writing regularly for that paper. Since 2003 I have been jazz critic for The Advertiser and The Australian newspapers, on average contributing weekly to each paper. In 2005 I won a national Jazz Writing Competition sponsored by the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.