Departure Lounge: Live
By Peter Dent
Another Oakley Grenell-led project, ‘Departure Lounge’ is an incredible instrumental ensemble featuring the crème de la crème of young NZ jazz talent. Grenell is an amazingly prolific composer and his guitar playing just keeps getting better. MVP on this live set must go to drummer Nick Gaffaney, one of the hardest working and most gifted players around. Chris Burke on sax, Johnny Lawrence on bass, Cameron Pearce on trumpet, Sum Suraweera on percussion and DJ Nativestyle on turntables add an exciting aural dimension to the tunes. They seem to be telepathic in terms of dynamic ensemble playing, interplay and groove. Their strengths are employed in a way that makes the music impossible to pigeon-hole: it’s electric jazz, it’s hip hop, it’s funk, it’s ska...it’s ‘Departure Lounge’, and it’s live! The album was recorded in April 2005 at the Harbour-light Theatre in Lyttelton, as part of the Christchurch International Jazz Festival, and by the sounds of the rapturous applause after each tune; the group was very well received indeed. Out on Central Records.