Tall Poppies


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 TP (1-901)


The Scented Garden

$23   (Australian dollars)


buy at: AMC - Buywell - iTunes

Jann Rutherford - piano
Paul Cutlan Ėsoprano, alto & tenor sax
Roger Manins - tenor sax
Craig Scott - bass
Dave Goodman - drums

Recorded just before her untimely death in early 2003, this CD is a heartfelt testament to Jann Rutheford, one of Australiaís truly individual voices in jazz. Her unique compositional style is here in abundance Ė Rutherfordís work is brought alive by ideal performances from her chosen musicians. Tall Poppies is proud to bring this remarkable music to you!

Jann RutherfordChanges
Staying in Touch
Keep Following Me
Maninsís Mania
The Beginning
Mr Visa Man
Waltz for Jun
Some Other Planet
Dancing Along in the Madness
The Scented Garden
Dieter SchwartzAlone Together


One of the hallmarks of both the composing and piano playing of the late Jann Rutherford was the complete seamlessness with which her work unfolded.There was a liquid flow to the logic: ideas were never tacked onto one another, but were part of an inevitable motion.

This album was recorded weeks before Rutherford succumbed to cancer. Its very existence is a triumph of her determination, and for that we can be grateful, as it is a fine documentation of her art.

Many facets of it are on display. Rutherford trips as lightly a a bird across the rapid swing of Changes, pursued first by the tenor of Roger Manins, then the skating alto of Paul Cutlan. Staying in Touch is supple and Latin-flavoured, and Keep Following Me is a freely improvised duet between Rutherford and drummer David Goodman, showing her quick wit and ready imagination.

Rutherfordís music was never flustered. The easy jazz-waltz groove built into Maninís Mania is superbly realised by Goodman and bassist Craig Scott, with a swaggering solo from the tenor before the piano dances breezily across the foreground.

Tenor and piano feature again on The Begining, a delicate ballad with aching vibrato from the former, and a lusciousness from Rutherford that is tempered with simplicity.

On the hard-boppish Mr Visa Man, the piano even bristles a little, without losing that Rutherford trademark of the notes seeming to melt into each other. Cutlanís soprano insinuates the pretty melody of Waltz for Jun, while Rutherford is typically understated in a poignant solo, before the singular gracefulness of phrasing infuses the only standard, Alone Together.

Tribute is paid to her mentor, fellow Kiwi Mike Nock, on the wistful Some Other Planet, whidh features Scott, Rutherford and Cutlan (on tenor) all at their most lyrical.

Dancing Alone in the Madness is like the giggles of a cheeky schoolboy amid this pensiveness.

The Scented Garden is a through-composed duet for piano and soprano, in which you can almost smell the passing fragrances. It is a superb epitaph to a gifted musician.

©John Shand
Sydney Morning Herald December 13, 2003

This CD from New Zealand pianist-composer Rutherford has a very moving story behind it but thatís not the main reason you should hear this magnificent collection of lyrical and impressionistic jazz-flavored works. It is obvious from hearing the music that Rutherford comes out of a classical background. She later studied jazz and had her own trios and quartets. In l993 she was nominated for an award as Most Outstanding Australian Female Jazz Musician. This was her second album as leader and she recorded her 11 tunes with her quartet enlarged with saxist Manins on tenor. She summoned the strength and determination to make the album because two months later she died of cancer at age 38. This is generally gentle and beautifully melodic music, although a couple tracks do verge on harder bop style. A couple of the tracks are just duos for one of the saxes and piano, sounding like French classical music for sax and piano. The chamber music feeling is much stronger in this CD than the jazz quintet feeling. And most of the tracks are seven or eight minutes, allowing plenty of time for a feeling of improvisation and development. I was occasionally reminded of Alex Wilderís Octets. Probably not easy to find this disc, so visit their web site.

John Henry
Audiophile Audition

In the last weeks of her life, Jann Rutherford, the Kiwi pianist/composer who became a major figure on the Australian jazz scene before succumbing to cancer at the age of 38, assembled the quartet that she has been leading for the previous three years, along with guest Roger Manins, whose tenor sax graces four tracks, and created her own musical memorial. More than that, she crafted a truly valuable musical gift to the jazz community.

In arrangements crafted for duet, quartet and quintet, Rutherford displays the piano skills that marked her as a classical prodigy from an early age, and the creative vision that led her to the front ranks of the Down Under jazz world. As a leader, she demonstrates great generosity and a clear grasp of her fellow performers' range and value. Each member of the band is a leading member of the Aussie jazz scene in his own right, and for American and European listeners, it's a fine opportunity to gain an appreciation of the outstanding music being created beyond the borders typically thought of as encompassing the jazz universe.

Released on the Australian label Tall Poppies, this one may require a bit of a search, but the reward will be an album of straight ahead jazz that's a straight forward masterpiece. Do the work.
Shaun Dale

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 TP (1-901)



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