This new James Sherlock Quartet album, with Scott Tinkler – tp, Brett Hirst – bs and Simon Barker – dr, presents seven tracks of original James Sherlock compositions, artistically presented with this brilliant CD cover artwork by Jeff Raglus.
Now don’t be mistaken and think this album merely presents Australia’s King of Jazz Guitar in a it’s-all-about-me type collection. Instead it presents and even features, arguably the finest jazz personnel on our continent. In particular, Tinkler’s presence on trumpet plays a subtantial role in re-creating Sherlock’s melodic ideas and themes as well as building his own in the numerous solo sections.
This work may also suggest Sherlock’s connection with the Australian landscape with tracks like Aussie Praise and Watermark evoking a vast landscape, sense of solitude and contemplation, via the use of rubato trumpet lines and displaced, altered guitar chords. The track Land Mullet characterises that reptilic aussie creature and its awkward gestures, through his use of an odd meter (3/4, 3/4, 5/4 ) and rhythmic chordal figures.
Overall, Sherlock’s performance on this album boasts as much dynamic bravado as John McLaughlin’s, but with that rawness and soul of Wes Montgomery, while stylistically true to jazz of the most profound level.