Unexpected Greeting, CD review by Barry O’Sullivan for Jazz Australia

Unexpected Greeting

Album:  Unexpected Greeting
Artist:     Michael Griffin Quintet
Release Date: 2015
Label:    ABC Jazz digital download

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Michael Griffin is a young saxophonist based in Sydney. He was a semi finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition in 2013 in Washington USA and performs regularly with his quintet who feature on his debut album “Unexpected Greeting” (ABC Music download only). The album showcases the style of all time greats Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderley ie. bebop.

With six compositions from the saxophonist and a hearty bunch of standards the album opens at a brisk pace and doesn’t slacken with the explosive horns of Griffin and Dane Laboyrie interplaying with spunk throughout along with Chris Long’s playful piano brimming with enthusiasm all over the album. Favourite track(and it’s hard to pick just one!) is the title Unexpected Greeting. This gets much the same joyous treatment with fine interplay of horns mixed with piano,bass and drums conviviality.

What a way to introduce yourself to a new and hopefully international
audience via the digital revolution.

On some tracks the pace is a lot slower adding the exquisite vocals of one of
Australia’s finest jazz vocalist’s Briana Cowlishaw to the well worn tunes, I Didn’t Know What Time It Was, As Time Goes By and Almost Like Being In Love. Ms Cowlishaw handles these timeless standards superbly sometimes giving them a new, unexpected yet innovative interpretation.Her voice is technically flawless as is her delivery.

For lovers of bebop and nostalgia this album is a must.

Michael Griffin- Alto Saxophone
Dane Laboyrie- Trumpet
Chris Long- Piano
Brendan Clarke- Bass
Tim Geldens- Drums

Barry OSullivan is the Producer/Presenter of a national music program A Jazz Hour now approaching its fourteenth year on the national Community Radio Network making it one the longest running jazz music programs on the FM Airwaves.Barry also produces and presents a variety of jazz programs for Sydney digital radio station FINE MUSIC Digital and reviews jazz music recordings for the international webpage, All About Jazz, and Fine Music Magazine.Barry strongly supports Australian jazz and contemporary improvised music from his home base in The Blue Mountains, NSW.