Rodric White
The Sea of Tranquility
(Newmarket Music)

Rating: ****

Pianist, composer, arranger, and vocalist Rodric White from NSW’s central coast says of his second album: “Tranquil seas can become rough and stormy,” and this is certainly not a session of motionless music. White also believes in the element of surprise, producing a varied album comprising different ensembles of high calibre players. Tracks are evenly split between standards and originals, the former using vocalists Debra Dicembre and/or leader White, with Dicembre’s work paramount, notably on Through The Years.

Instrumental tracks range from a duo of piano and Julian Gough’s expressive soprano sax, to a sextet featuring outstanding solos from Dale Barlow’s tenor sax and Phil Slater on trumpet. Say What, based on Miles Davis’s So What, demonstrates White’s considerable compositional ability, and a classical approach in his piano solo, while Slater’s trumpet shines out like a searchlight. The Rhythmatist employs synthesised sounds evoking African music with drums and percussion, adding high flying solos from tenor then trumpet and possibly the best piano work on the album.

Note: This review first appeared in The Weekend Australian and is reprinted with the permission of the author.

Hash Varsani is the owner of The Jazz Directory, a network of sites related to jazz, travel and everything else he loves. He also runs a selection of jazz related sites including Jazz Club Jury, a jazz club and festival review site. Check out his Google+ Profile, to see what else he's up to...probably setting up another website from one of his many passions.