Way out West, Peter Knight, review by Barry O’Sullivan


Album:  Way out West
Artist:   Peter Knight
Release Date: June 2016
Label:    Jazzhead

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Peter Knight’s – Way Out West’s intriguing self-titled fourth album features the Sydney based koto virtuoso Satsuki Odamura building on this leading Melbourne band’s long history of integrating Asian instrumentation in a contemporary setting. The band then infuses these influences with irresistible West African grooves and jazz inflected melodies,delivering a multicultural musical brew percolated with original compositions by its members and their distinctive sound.

Filtering the line up are long-time WOW members, Ray Pereira (percussion), Howard Cairns (bass and button accordion), and Rajiv Jayaweera (drums) along with the exquisite talents of guitarist Lucas  Michailidi playing bottleneck and acoustic guitars with one of this country’s leading jazz trumpeters Peter  Knight. Also throughout the album as a feature is the virtuoso stellar tenor playing of Paul Williamson.

All tracks are original composition by the bands members.The opener Nine Years Later  smoothly entices the listener into their unique world with a bass koto pre-heralding the rest of the ensemble’s chorus of instruments with their lonesome and wistful sounds.

This is  one the stand out tracks of the album.Anthony Blaise is a full throttle fusion with Rajiv Jayaweera’s drums and Lucas  Michailidis on guitar driving the forge, while Pereira’s congas manoeuvre the beat to its conclusion of a triple full blast from all members.The Birds deftly blends the Koto with wild bird sound grabs, horns and percussion all interweaved successfully creating a sultry ambience while the closer Music For A Country Mile once again introduces the Koto in an intriguingly repetitive sonic landscape blended with percussion,hurtling towards its momentum.This is a superb album from and ensemble at the forefront of today’s contemporary improvisational musical revolution.

Led by Peter Knight, Way Out West’s intriguing new project features the Sydney based koto virtuoso, Satsuki Odamura and builds on the band’s long history of integrating Asian instrumentation and approaches in a contemporary setting that infuses these influences with irresistible West African influenced grooves and jazz inflected melodies.

In addition to Peter and Satsuki, Way Out West’s line-up for this collaboration features long-time Way Out West members, Ray Pereira (percussion) and Howard Cairns (bass and button accordion), along with the exquisite talents of guitarist Lucas Michailidis playing bottleneck and acoustic guitars, and drummer Rajiv Jayaweera.

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.