The recording opens with a bright rendition of Confirmation, the rhythmic unity of the duo being asserted from the first bars. The following track, Sophisticated Lady shows just how beautifully the duo can vary their textures together with Loughnan’s tenor sax in turn punchy and lyrical. All the time well balanced so that he never sounds like he needs to over-extend his sound. The third track, Feel the Breeze, is a complete change in direction, Loughnan’s soprano saxophone gently soars over the guitar accompaniment in this simple but effective track. You’ll love the seagulls too.
The Spanish quality of Jacque Ibert’s Entr’acte is introduced with a change to acoustic guitar and flute. This is a classical piece, but the approach taken is influenced by the freshness of jazz, the tone is rather breathy and there is a laidback attack to the rhythm, not lazy, just a different style to the usual approach to Ibert. This is a daring piece to put on the CD, and has to be admired as an attempt to make a change of pace, texture and direction. I think that it isn’t until the last piece that we really hear Loughnan’s flute chops in their finest form. When he lets loose through Cole Porter’s I Concentrate on you Loughnan shows what the jazz flute/guitar duo is all about. Before the listener gets to the Porter, however, there is a bluesy turn in ‘Coogee Shuffle’ and some more standards, including an upbeat swinging version of Body and Soul.
I hadn’t heard any of Loughnan’s recordings before this and it is great to hear what has been achieved by Australia’s jazz musicians back when I was still a kid. There is something really personal and exciting that comes across, whether this is the heartfelt admiration for the standards, a genuine rapport between the musicians or something else. This recording will be of interest to aficionados of the history of Australian jazz, as it shows Col Loughnan in his element along with Steve Murphy. Saxophonists will treasure it for the fine ensemble playing and consistent artistic vision. Thanks to La Brava Music for taking the time to re-release this classic recording of Australian jazz.
– reviewed by James Nightingale