Beginning and End of Knowing, review by John McBeath


Album: Beginning and End of Knowing
Artist:   Laurence Pike and Mike Nock
Release Date: December 2015
Label:    FWM Records

Buy Album

The well-established duo of Mike Nock on piano and drummer Laurence Pike released their first album, Kindred in 2012. Their latest from late 2015 is recorded at a very high level of fidelity at the famous Rainbow Studio in Oslo, Norway and produced by Pike.

Nock says the studio’s attention to detail was detailed and comprehensive: Pike played a drum set donated by Jack de Johnette and Nock’s grand piano had been completely dismantled and overhauled for the sessions.

The twelve tracks were totally improvised without any prior arrangement or even discussion: the two players sat at their instruments and began playing. Probably the best way to listen to the collection is to do the same, starting with the opening title track and letting the sequence unfold. The sound quality of Pike’s drum intro is astonishing, and no less is the piano when it arrives in a wandering abstract passage. Surprising also is the degree of empathy and musical understanding between these two players.

Track two, Cloudless begins with a series of stately piano chords as drums remain silent until just bass drum and cymbal start to add profundity to the atmosphere. Each of these pieces has its own character and meaning until the finale In Closing achieves a sumptuous and elegant conclusion.

There are aspects of jazz, classical, and musical narrative throughout this impressive and impromptu collection where the drumkit is not often used rhythmically, but adds colour and punctuation to the piano’s ceaseless invention.

This article was originally published in the Australian

Read Laurence Pike’s article on the making of this CD here

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.