Tiny Hearts
ALLUVIUM (alluviumrecords.com/Birdland)

One of the wonders of collective music making is the way a composition conceived by one person in isolation is interpreted, filtered and transformed by the assembled pool of sounds, experiences, muscles, emotions, imagination, expertise and aesthetic sense. It happens in rock bands and orchestras, but the process is magnified when improvisation is extensively involved. All five members of Sydney’s Tiny Hearts have contributed pieces to this debut album, yet what hits home is not so much the diversity of compositional approaches as the cohesion of the group interplay in realising them. Aiding the cause is the distinctiveness of Eamon Dilworth’s trumpet which, unlike most jazz-oriented players, sometimes carries a blast of the raucous vibrancy associated with Balkan Gypsies or Spanish bullfight bands. Other members are saxophonist Dave Jackson, pianist Steve Barry, bassist Tom Botting and drummer Paul Derricott: all musicians whose improvisation deepens the colour of a composition rather than just decorating it. Hear them at Venue 505 on August 28. JOHN SHAND

Sydney trumpeter Eamon Dilworth is a highly active musician. His quintet The Dilworths released their debut album in 2009, and then his gypsy ska quartet Caravana Sun album debuted in 2011, with a second CD arriving in 2013. In between Dilworth has toured extensively in Europe, and studied and played in the US, Australia and New Zealand, and won numerous awards. Not bad for someone who’s just turned 27
Now Dilworth together with drummer Paul Derricott has formed a new quintet, Tiny Hearts releasing a debut album of compositions by each band member. These pieces are described as ‘. . . tales of travel, searching, thinking of the cosmos, loss and identity.’ Five of the eleven pieces are by the leader, including the opener, Brief Stint which begins with a series of solo trumpet downward cadences, taken up by Dave Jackson’s alto as the ensemble arrives to slow things down, flatten out and then erupt into a raucous free-sounding sequence with accentuating drums. Pianist Steve Barry’s original, Kanji is a sumptuously pensive number carried by muted trumpet and alto with gracefully flowing piano ornamentation
There’s a vaguely familiar lullaby-style melody to Derricott’s Big Sea Reprise featuring wordless vocals from a trio of Elana Stone, Brian Campeau and the composer. Bassist Tom Botting wrote Balclutha, with an infectious tock-tock offbeat and stately harmonics. Cosmontology by Jackson is a post-bop piece – a term that applies to most tracks – with a long-note theme against jabbing rhythms adding the composer’s driving solo and an imaginative, tension-building piano sequence

John McBeath
Previously published in The Australian April 2014

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