28 May 2024
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Goldsmith Baynes - Album Review: E Rere Ra

01 Sep 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Earlier this year I was fortunate to be asked to review To Ihu, one of the four singles to be made available from this album so far, and I was just blown away by what I was hearing. Allana Goldsmith is a classic jazz songstress with warm and embracing vocals while Mark Baynes is a compassionate and empathetic accompanist on the piano, and together they create the bedrock of a very special experience indeed. For the recording sessions they utilised the skills of Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa (drums), Alex Griffith (electric bass), Tom Dennison (bass), Riki Bennett (Taongo Puoro), Cameron Allen (saxophones), Jono Tan (trombone) and Mike Booth (trumpet and horn arrangement), but never to the detriment to the core sound, building on it but not overwhelming it.

Alanna and Mark have been working together for more than ten years and it shows in this wonderfully enjoyable soft jazz release. As the singer, Alanna will often take the centre stage more than Mark, yet there are also times when he shows off his skills with sections where he takes the lead, sometimes on piano and others on an electric. Jazz is a global style, and the only style of music I ever heard my dad play for pleasure when I was growing up, so is a genre I have always held a close affection for, and when it is as good as this all one wants to do is sit back with the headphones on and relax into the arms of its friendly sound.

Alanna is from are Ngati Porou and Ngai Tai, and the majority of this album is performed in Te Reo, taking both the language and the genre into new areas. I have always felt that Te Reo is an incredibly musical language in its own right, as folk duo Aro clearly demonstrate on their releases, and here we have a singer and accompanist who embrace that and deliver artistry which is incredibly powerful and inviting. Although the songs are all within the soft jazz style, this still covers a lot of different areas and where horns may be a focal point in one song, it could be electric guitar on another while at times Alanna is singing clear and free, whereas at others she has multi-layered harmonies on top.

To Ihu is probably still my favourite on the album, but that may well be just because I played it so many times when it was released. A special mention should be made of Te Reo, where Alanna sounds incredible vulnerable, the piano provides rippling sequences behind, the percussion is both restrained and dramatic, the bass warm and melodious and then cries in the background remind us just where this has come from. This is a very special album indeed, one to be played when one has the time to really listen and fall into their special world.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Goldsmith Baynes

The Goldsmith Baynes project is a celebration between two musical souls. The talented pair have worked together for over 10 years and their musical bond comes from freedom, a shared trust, and mutual respect. Goldsmith and Baynes have written a stunning collection of songs together, which will culminate in a debut album to be released late this year.

Goldsmith Baynes have performed at renowned festivals including the Waiheke Jazz Festival and Tauranga International Jazz Festival, and have been programmed for the 2022 Auckland Arts Festival. They also were invited to perform at the recent Aotearoa Music Awards 2021.

An exciting new project created by the renowned jazz artists Allana Goldsmith and Mark Baynes with vocals containing a beautiful mix of Maori and English language, their debut single Tipuna was released last year and featured on the Waiata Anthems 2021 compilation. A wonderful collaboration between two modern favourites of the jazz world, Goldsmith's soulful jazz vocal combines with British pianist Baynes' contemporary jazz stylings to produce this truly uplifting and remarkable record.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Goldsmith Baynes

Releases

E Rere Ra
Year: 2022
Type: Album

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