Tom Vincent Trio w Branford Marsalis saxophone
Recorded in USA
Tom Vincent is a jazz pianist, arranger and composer based in Hobart and is one of Australia’s most innovative improvising musicians. Among his career highlights is touring with saxophonist Branford Marsalis as support act and now on his eighth album to date he has finally recorded with him. Along with members from his trio expanded into a quartet, Alf Jackson on drums and Leigh Barker on double bass, he has added ex-patriot now New York bassist Matt Clohesy on two tracks and the legendary saxophonist Marsalis on three. Recorded in two locations in America the album is pure musical harmony delivering much more than just a characteristic piano trio album. The ensemble swings heartily from a blues-based axis that serves as a durable foundation for Vincent’s harmonic and rhythmic forays. The title track featuring Marsalis’s deftly played, technically superb soprano saxophone, is the only original composition by Vincent. It sits comfortably alongside the expertly selected all time classics A Beautiful Friendship, Autumn in New York, Sweet Georgia Brown and a stellar version of Indiana that would put a smile on the face of the great Earl Hines. The recording of Blues in America is a significant achievement for a pianist that has set a high bar in musical achievement long ago and one who is at the top of his game
Tom Vincent Septet
Tasmanian pianist Tom Vincent has an impressive track record before this, his seventh recording, having toured widely throughout Australia, Asia, Europe, South America, Canada and the US, where he studied and performed for three years in New York.
Widely known in his home city, Hobart, mostly for his composition and performance with his trio, he also has headed numerous larger groups, including on this new release where his trio grows to a septet with four of Melbourne’s leading jazz players. It’s a tribute to Vincent’s ability that as this album was released, he was in New York recording with tenor giant Branford Marsalis.
The seven tracks are Vincent’s compositions and arrangements and three have references to members of the group in the titles. Jules Thief refers to saxophonist Julian Wilson, and its bouncy ensemble theme soon makes room for a Wilson tenor sax solo containing some hyper-fast runs and astute melodic improvisation. The opener, Blues F’Yous, is a quick tempo blues with some nimble alto sax by Phil Noy, smartly darting piano from the leader, speedy trombone from Ben Gillespie, a rapid trumpet sequence by Steve Grant, an effective drum break by Alf Jackson and a further tenor flare-up before a well-scored group conclusion.
It’s not hard to guess that Noysie Oyster is an attribution to the altoist and he pours out breathless passages encompassing the instrument’s entire range, interspersed by trumpet and piano plus the whole septet effect of Vincent’s stylish arrangement.
In addition to the never-failing ability of these top soloists, the arrangements combine dynamically to produce a hard-swinging collection for a notable album.
John McBeath - The Australian, 7th November 2015
Tom Vincent Septet
Julien Wilson, Steve Grant, Phil Noy, Ben Gillespie, Tom Vincent, Leigh Barker, Alf Jackson
“Hi Tom? About the new CD: it’s timeless. No, I don’t mean you play out of time – it’s like it’s a film noir soundtrack constantly bursting into colour. I hear Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Basie, even McCoy Tyner growling back there. It could be 20 years ago, or 20 into the future, that sort of timeless. I listened to it all with a huge smile on my face. No, not of derision, geez you’re a touchy bastard. Couldn’t stop the feet tapping; actually the twitching started in the unmentionables region. No, not due to the cold - you swing dude. Everything you play is so unpredictable. No, not crazy, settle down - you just kept my ears glued. You could never play this stuff in the background, it demands attention, like all the best music. Well, I don’t know anything about commercial success, obviously, but I for one sure loved listening to it. What I hate is when people get all analytical about music in CD notes to show off their own erudition – do you mind if I don’t do that? I mean, the counterpoint is incredibly rich and complex, your stacked-third and fourth voicings are impeccable, highly original, you simply wash away the changes (how do you do that?) and I love the way you guys shift constantly in and out of tight ensemble and soloing, without any of that flaccid “oh-here-we-go-we’re-improvising-now” let-down. Don’t even get me started on the drumming, he’s like a psychic, and where on earth did you get those brass and horn players, their feel, their chops, dare I say their intonation! You guys are right inside each track. It just keeps cooking, but really low-fat, high protein. It’s like the buzz I get listening to Elliott Carter or watching the sunrise reflected on a snow-capped Mt Wellington. Puts me in an elated mood, you know? Helps me deal with the craziness in the world. Anyone who doesn’t have this CD is missing out on life. It so swings. Whoops, gotta go, the cat’s dancing on my laptop.”
~ Michael Kieran Harvey
Tom Vincent Trio
This album was recorded without an audience in conjunction with the Trio’s series of gigs at the Polish Club in Hobart last July. It is a wonderful distillation of the qualities displayed in those live appearances. Tom Vincent took more risks and was characteristically uninhibited at the gigs; the playing here is more reined in, but also more polished, refined and disciplined, while retaining the inventiveness and spontaneity that makes him such a startlingly individual performer. Consequently, this is a recorded jazz collection that will repay repetition. The synergy of pianist, drummer Alf Jackson and bass player Leigh Barker is formidable - always tight and responsive. As at the live gig, Vincent’s rapport with his young drummer, in particular, is at times remarkable. The pianist’s improvisatory response to the tunes - wide ranging standards by the likes of Cole Porter, Vernon Duke and Thelonious Monk - is satisfyingly imaginative while remaining respectful to the source material.
JAZZ LIVES! CD review
The Morphic Resonance Project is a trio consisting of the pianist/leader Tom Vincent, bassist Sam Anning and drummer Ben Vanderwal. The CD is a collection of 12 compositions accredited to the pianist, but more about that later.
Vincent's trios have received glowing commendations from such respected people as Branford Marsalis, for whom he opened on a 2010 tour of Australia, legendary trumpeter Keith Hounslow and Mike Nock, whom Vincent lists as one of his teacher/mentors. Upon first hearing, Jazz Lives! is a group of compositions that owe a debt to existing standards. Vincent leaves little doubt about this relationship in the listener's mind by quoting extensively from several of his models. One such piece is the title track, which is obviously based upon the Miles Davis classic Freedom Jazz Dance. The second tune, entitled Love Is Pure Gold, uses the changes of Speak Low and Christina Joy is a contrafact of Cole Porter's I Love You. Vincent's treatment of thee standard sets of chord changes is idiosyncratic to the point that composers of the models could not object on grounds of plagiarism. Recognising these references to existing material simply becomes another level of appreciation of the playing.
The pianist has a breathtaking array of modern jazz piano techniques under his hands, all of which he is able to call upon in the realization of improvised performance of astounding originality. His music shows a sense of humour and penchant for the 'put-on' (see the titling of the ninth track, Ichi-go Ichi-e). He has well-deserved faith in the ability of his collaborators to hold things together while he stretches and truncates themes, lays back on the rhythm yet all the time retains control of the overall structure. It is an expression of the freedom that is in the essence of the best jazz performances.
Anning and Vandewal are among Australia's best contemporary exponents on their respective instruments. Their work on this album is evidence of the type of playing that has earned them this reputation. It is difficult to imagine more sympathetic collaborators for Vincent. The solo bass introduction to the fourth track entitled On the Prowl is the work of someone who has great technical control of the double bass. In every tune, Vanderwal's drumming complements perfectly the work of the pianist and bassist. I cannot imagine more empathic playing than this. Jack DeJohnette was never more responsive to Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock than Vanderwal is to Vincent and Anning.
The technical mastering and mixing of this disc is also splendid. George Goerss deserves congratulations on the production and Arts Tasmania has my gratitude for the assistance that they gave to the recording. In all, a thoroughly satisfying piece of work that is easy to recommend to all who are interested in the best output from the wonderful crop of contemporary piano trios in Australia. For anyone beginning an exploration of this fertile field, this album is a terrific starting point.
Gavin Franklin MCA Music Forum magazine, June 2012
JUST ENOUGH CD review
HOBART-BASED pianist Tom Vincent has an extensive CV. Across a 25-year career he has toured widely with groups in Australia, Asia, Europe, South America, Canada and the US, where he resided for three years, studying and performing in New York.On this latest studio album Vincent has written nine of the 14 tunes. The music is well played and stylistically it's an evolution from pre-Coltrane bop, with an approach similar to Coleman Hawkins's 1960s quartet with Red Garland on piano.
This is a Tasmanian production, except for Melbourne bassist Leigh Barker. Danny Healy is on tenor sax, Alf Jackson plays drums. The band is on a promotional tour of the eastern states until May 31. Three of the pieces are by Thelonious Monk, including a swinging version of Green Chimneys, adding a slightly comedic sequence of two-bar exchanges between tenor and piano. Another Monk original, Rhythm-a-ning, features Healy on bass clarinet, marred by a tendency to inject comic-sounding passages, though the piano comes to the rescue with a driving solo.
Vincent's compositions are varied and interesting, especially the ballads, of which Big Creek Wedding is a good example with a melody pretty enough to include in the standards repertoire. How Would You Dream moves gently and soothingly with a faint relationship to On Green Dolphin Street. A medium-tempo swinger, Get Together introduces a deftly supportive bass solo, while the title track, using piano without the sax, opens at a slower pace, with effective chords underlining a wandering theme before breaking into double time as it flows descriptively up and down the keyboard.
John McBeath, The Australian, May 11, 2013
BLOOD RED CD review
Tom Vincent has been a regular on the Tasmanian jazz scene for many years. Here, with Marc Meader on drums and Leigh Barker on bass, is a set recorded for ABC Classic FM's Jazztrack program last year. Influenced by Thelonius Monk, and with touches of Ahmad Jamal, this is a very sophisticated ensemble that plays tight, rhythmic modern jazz. With the exception of a track composed by John Coltrane and one by Monk, the other numbers are Vincent's work. It is an ensemble that deserves plenty of airplay around Australia.
Greg Barns, Tasmanian Mercury May 2009
VINCENT/MEADER TRIO CD review
Tom Vincent's recording debut of jazz classics showcases a remarkable talent. Vincent is full of surprise and inventiveness; his way of playing has you hankering for the next note and smiling to yourself when it arrives. He can tip-toe through a tune, dripping melody with spare, treble notes but never sounding merely pretty, or race away with insouciance. He is a delight.
Shane Nichols, Australian Financial Review
Standing, crouching, leaping around the piano, Tom Vincent is a phenomenon to behold. His restless energy goes with a rare blend of freedom and control. The effect is almost visceral, and startlingly individual, with the listener always engaged and aware of the performer’s complete command. It is also clear that Vincent requires his collaborators to be constantly on the ball and ready to respond instantly to his inspiration.
Peter Donnelly, Mercury, August 2012
This Trio is a breath of fresh air
...stunning fluidity and playfulness and a readiness to cover the waterfront of jazz history. ..the witticism and capability had everyone chuckling as another melody appeared unexpectedly. And it was not just masses of tunes, but also massive fluidity over all parts of the music: rhythms moved all over the place. Polyrhythms between hands, bass line triplets and delayed lines ... Melodies that were dissonantly sideshifted or restructured lines with the same form but altered intervals and pitches. A pianist noted that Tom has a big hand, so could play big, unusual chords in his left hand, but they were extensions and colours that we were hearing, as well as intervals. ..dynamic and expressive and playful. A wonderful night
Eric Pozza, Canberra Jazz Blog, review of Trio gig 12th June 2009
Tom's chords have a great polarity, from the dark heavy changes to the bright crisp clusters just as the lyrical polarity of his creative melodies. Tom's writing, especially his ballad work is quite beautiful and has the depth and flow of the river Don. As for his feel, expression and sensitivity, well it's just magnificent, I actually cried whilst listening to his ballad work. Feel and sensitivity are of fundamental importance, you either are born with this so necessary talent or you're not. You can't learn this God given gift and Tom most certainly has it all.
Serge Ermoll, Australian Jazz Pianist, May 2009
Pianist Tom Vincent holds your attention through all his considerable range of approaches. Vincent displays an old world charm, leading the trio into a supple dance ... ranges form the spare swing of an Ahmad Jamahl to a formidable, dark, continuous running development .. that can recall Lennie Tristano or Herbie Nichols...and Vincent is an unusual stylist in his own right.
John Clare, Sydney Morning Herald
I recently attended a mini-concert at the Paris Cat in Melbourne August 2008 given by Tom Vincent on a tour from his base in Hobart Tasmania. I rank Tom as the most outstanding piano player Australia (take a cheer Aussie) has produced. The tendency of reviewers to allude to technique (pianos particularly) in their appraisal of a recording or concert is not in my view the main component of a Jazz player's performance. For this reviewer, the tour de force is IMPROVISATIONAL ABILITY. When I hear someone play the piano, looking like he means it and sets up a constant flow of ideas that literally blind me with virtuosity plus, the carry through to perpetuate such imaginative work, then, and only then do I make such, you may think extravagant claims about an artiste. Tom Vincent must be confronting a career of great satisfaction, but wait, there's more... so will the listener to his work. Trust me, On all this.
Keith Hounslow, October 2008