RHYTHMS Magazine – January 2006.
The Java Quartet. DEEP BLUE SEA.
Led by bassist-composer Michael Galeazzi (best known for his work with Karma County), this Sydney band has released several albums now. For mine, DEEP BLUE SEA is their most convincing statement yet. On a program of seven originals, the Java Quartet establishes and explores a restrained, dreamy mood. It succeeds because the four players (Galeazzi, tenor saxophonist Mathew Ottignon, pianist Greg Coffin and drummer Mike Quigley) are all prepared to discipline themselves to play selflessly, to lay out or lay back if the mood requires it. If you're in that kind of mood, DEEP BLUE SEA is quite delicious.
www.jazzscene.com.au – OCT 2005
Six tunes composed by the bass player and one by the drummer, this is a 'straight-to-tape' recording in which the band proudly celebrate their fifth recording and tenth year in the music forum. Again, no explanatory sleeve notes but the music evokes the theme and the playing is exemplary, particularly that ethereal sound of sax backed with an empathetic rhythm section.
'In the Swim' has a catchy melodic line that sticks in the mind, as does the featured sax tone. 'The Leaving Song' recalls Stan Getz, while 'Transitions' and 'Jetty' are both so spare withe the spaces nearly as significant as the notes that are played. 'Be Still My Friend' evokes the Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond and 'Little Boy' is pure blues, bot as in 12-bar, but as in pure soul (Billie and Pres would have loved it). This is pleasantly swinging jazz that brings memories of balmy nights on the Pacific Shore"
Drum Media Review – SEPT 2005
Every new Java Quartet release is awaited with keen anticipation. This is one group that digs deeply to locate its voice, that develops musical concepts as a vehicle for the expression of emotions and experiences, that understands the power of the moment and translates that to beautiful sounds.
Thus, Deep Blue Sea is not about intellectual complexity, but about moving, accessible music. That is not to say it lacks sophistication, in any sense. Each of the players is an established improviser in his own right. Between them, they regularly work with the likes of Mike Nock, Paul MacNamara and Steve Hunter. And their musicality and superb improvisational skills come to the forefront on this album.
This is partially due to the fact that Deep Blue Sea was recorded at 301 studios, amidst the tranquil surroundings of Byron Bay, and in the old school Blue Note 'straight to tape' style - in one room, without amps or headphones. Thus, every track has a warm, spontaneous and, above all, unified feel. The album opens with the engaging rhythms of bassist Michael Galeazzi 's opening motif on in the swim , over which saxophonist Matt Ottignon layers fleeting melodic sketches, met by the sparse, but vocal ideas of pianist Greg Coffin. This gives way to the dreamy, sad feel of the melodic leaving song before the group later shows its brighter, harder swinging side on be still my friend.
Deep Blue Sea is a moody, ambient and expressive album that reaches out to its listeners in its musical and emotional honesty.
Sunday Herald Sun SUN 10 JUL 2005, Deep Blue Sea
JAZZ – The Java Quartet (Vitamin Records) *** 1/2
In short: Slinky ambient sounds of substance from Sydney.
The press release that accompanies this latest effort from Sydney outfit the Java Quartet makes mention of a desire to emulate the classic sound of the fabled Blue Note label.
Label that a mission accomplished. There is warmth here that is embracing.
The bass of Michael Galeazzi, who wrote all but one of the seven tunes, is wonderfully alive and prominent.
The band even recalls the snap of Blue Note sides by the likes of Horace Silver, with saxophonist Mathew Ottignon supplying the sort of feathery intensity for which Joe Henderson was renowned.
Mostly, though, the Java Quartet inhabits its own space, unlike that of any other aggregation, in Australia or anywhere else -- supremely melodic, full of taut, yet limpid, grooves and packed with soul. The Java Quartet launches Deep Blue Sea at Bennetts Lane on Friday.
Sydney Morning Herald – Spectrum 30th July 2005
The Java Quartet has what we now call a pop sensibility. It just means that they’re catchy at first or second hearing and they avoid complex chord structures that you have to internalise before you can really relax into the music.
That said, there is a lot of thought here, and some very nice jazz playing from all hands. The first tune opens with a wonderful, bouncing-ball bass line from leader Michael Galeazzi, and the opening riff – brief but very melodic – is repeated with a light insistence by Mat Ottignon’s tenor saxophone.
On track four Galeazzi plays three peremptory notes that step down beat by beat, then leaves five beats with no bass, repeats the procedure and so on. Mike Quigley holds a tight drum roll that seems to strain the other way. Over these engaging tensions, Ottignon and pianist Greg Coffin play with a contrasting lyrical lift.
Simple, but it allows you to hear all the levels clearly. Lovely sound ( recorded in Byron Bay ).
Lovely disc, really.
The Daily Telegraph – 26th July 2005
They came, they performed, they…….well the Java Quartet didn’t exactly conquer, but they did play some breathtakingly beautiful music.
One of the most polished jazz bands around town showed their skills last week in a performance at the Vanguard in Newtown.
And as proof of their enduring quality, the Java Quartet are celebrating their fifth album and ten years together. Admittedly the personnel has changed in that time, but the heart and soul of the music remain the same.
On Saturday night the band played music from their latest offering, Deep Blue Sea.
Band leader and double bass player Michael Galeazzi and drummer Mike Quigley are the two constants in the band and between them wrote all the tracks for the album.
Tenor saxophone Mat Ottignon continues to mature as a player and is a distinctive voice on the Sydney scene. Every time he plays he grows as an artist.
Pianist Matt McMahon, filling in for Greg Coffin who is in Japan, impressed with his wonderful touch.
Galeazzi’s big, sweeping bass sound sets the tone and the other musicians worked off him.
The second set enabled the band to pay songs from previous CDs, with the mood ranging from introspective to frenetic. Some music, because of its subtleties, requires a certain level of attention. The Java Quartet demand that sort of respect. A noisy audience detracted slightly.
The Java Quartet 'Deep Blue Sea' | www.corporatenews.com.au
(Vitamin Records DHR 005)
Matthew Ottignon – saxophone
Greg Coffin – piano
Michael Galeazzi – bass
Mike Quigley – drums
This is the fifth album from a group, which started out basically as a vehicle for the compositions of bassist Michael Galeazzi, but has now become almost an institution in Australian jazz. The group members who are ordinarily scattered world wide on individual projects, gathered in Byron Bay for the recording in the fashion of the 1960's Blue Note sound.
Michael Galeazzi contributes all the album's compositions except 'Jetty' by the drummer Mike Quigley. Michael's spare and lyrical melodies are perfect settings for both Ottignon and Coffin to improvise over. Ottignon's restrained style on the saxophone proved he was the perfect replacement for the gap left by Richard Maegraith when he left the band in 2003. Ottignon's solo on 'The Leaving Song' for instance is as fleeting as watching an express train miss your station but somehow avoids sounding as busy as that visual juxtaposition could be.
Greg Coffin provides a touch not un-like Herbie Hancock, asking melodic questions and then providing the lyrical answers. This could be called a concept album in that, while each piece has it's own characteristics, the overall consistency in approach, the focus on the Galeazzi bass and the imagery which those 'deep' notes create, almost has you submerging in a blue heaven.
'Little Boy', presumably written for Galeazzi's young toddler, is a gorgeous ballad showcasing the brush work of Quigley, and how beautiful these players can improvise at this slower than heartbeat tempo.
For me, this release is about as commercially accessible as straight ahead Australian modern jazz can be while remaining so true artistically. What an ideal sound the Java Quartet have found - 4 stars
Deep Blue Sea Review In BRAG
Evocative instrumental music from a local quartet which stutters along very nicely, producing a seven - track release which is mesmerisingly complex in parts, breathtakingly simple in others, but always well performed and more charismatic than many other local jazz releases. That being said, DEEP BLUE SEA is quite one paced; there are very few rhythmic dynamics. But the jazzy musicianship and experimental compositional approach makes it an interesting listen all the same. Drummer Mike Quigley steals the show, his fierce snare playing towards the end of the opening track, 'In The Swim', working off a simple piano and bass riff to electrify what was a fairly static opening few minutes. Elsewhere the slow moving second track, 'The Leaving Song' shuffles by with typical confidence, the beautiful sax playing of Matthew Ottignon cutting through the warm instrumental bed. Classy. If this is what the DEEP BLUE SEA really sounds like: I'm off for a quick dip.
MUSIC :: The Java Quartet - Deep Blue Sea
All States | 05.07.2005
THE PROGRAM is an initiative of the Australia Council's Audience & Market Development Division. www.theprogram.net.au
If you love beautiful jazz, get yourself a copy of The Java Quartet 's fifth album, Deep Blue Sea and let yourself slide into its silky currents. Turn off your phones, ignore the door bells, lie back and let yourself be immersed in the ebb and flow of this album's journey.
Recorded in the untailored lush environs of Byron Bay at Studios 301, Deep Blue Sea brings with it an air of complete surrender. Approached from the old school 'blue note' style of recording in one room - no amps, no headphones - The Java Quartet has crafted an intoxicating, sensuous album.
Michael Galeazzi (Karma County) on bass, Greg Coffin (Paul McNamara, Craig Scott, Steve Hunter) on piano, Mike Quigley (Tourettes, Sydney Conservatorium Big Band, Gordon Brisker Big Band) on drums, and Mat Ottignon (Phil Slater's Strobe Coma Virgo, Mike Nock's BSB project, John Pochee's Space Cadets) on saxophone produce a rich illumination in their union that is truly hypnotic.
Michael Galeazzi has written all but one of the albums compositions; Mike Quigley wrote Jetty and together with Greg and Mat, they have totally seduced me. Notes fall like warm raindrops saturating me, moving over my body, intoxicating me. Melodies transfix me like the warmth of sunrays on a cold day. Their music reaches deep within me to a place where I can do nothing more than stop and be.
This one album will see me through luxurious mornings of bed and love, wintry afternoons of coffee, sunshine and a good book, and evenings of food, wine and fabulous conversation.
The Java Quartet are currently touring and you can catch them in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Canberra. Jump onto www.javaquartet.com.au for tour dates in and get yourself there, sit back and let the Deep Blue Sea wash over you.
DRUM INTERVIEW BETWEEN JAVA AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA.
MICHAEL GALEAZZI explains it all to MICHAEL SMITH.
The album, DEEP BLUE SEA(Vitamin), is quite obviously a jazz album. The band, The Java Quartet quite obviously a jazz combo. But wait a minute - look at the lineup. Band leader and main composer Michael Galeazzi is the bass player from Karma County, while drummer Mike Quigley is just back from Europe where he's been recording with speed metal merchants Tourettes. Yet this is definitely jazz we're talking. It's all relative.
"Really it's the Miles Davis aesthetic," Galeazzi admits. "I'm doing nothing new as far as that kind of thing is concerned. I remember an interview with Bjork where she was asked what her musical influences were and she said,' flowers, Iceland, the countryside...,' She likes to get her influences from things other than music, which I translate as bringing your emotions from other areas of life and just using music as a conduit to express those emotions. That was Miles Davis' whole aesthetic and it was the hybrids he pioneered as he moved from big band swing to bebop into cool and fusion.
"There's nothing new in the 12-tone concept of western music and the interesting stuff from whatever culture you can bring into your music and what hybrids of style, as long as you're honest and expressing yourself, though I find the more interesting music draws from a greater gene pool."
Which is why Galeazzi was heading off to Adelaide from our interview to play behind The Sandman and company at a cabaret/comedy convention, and why Quigley can just as comfortably sit behind the Sydney Conservatorium Big Band. The other half of The Java Quartet carry more "traditional" jazz credentials, pianist Greg Coffin having played with Paul McNamara and Steve Hunter among others, while sax player Mat Ottignon is your pure jazz "horn for hire" with, among many, Mike Nock's BSB Project and John Pochee's Space cadets. That versatility can of course be a bit of a problem. As Galeazzi admits," this album has been in the can for a while 'cos I've been the only one in the country!" Yet that's not really a problem either.
"It's an art project. I'm not going to hit the top ten. I don't want to, and that actually takes the pressure off the whole thing so you can do things that you want to do, without being completely self-indulgent. Musically it's probably going back to that Coltrane ostenatta spiritual search kind of thing which I've always had in my back pocket because that's the thing thats always appealed to me about improvised music. Jazz is one of the youngest expressions of improvised music, and music was essentially created to celebrate life and the gods and how good life is, so I try and make music that's almost reflective, that will hopefully take the listener to another space, wherever their space is, and let them forget about the mundane for a bit and daydream. That's the beauty of the people that are in the band. they just flesh these things out and bring their own humanity to it and that's what makes it a piece of music. Being musicians, we're just dealing in emotions and we want to portray certain emotions, so all my production ideas are formed around trying to portray a certain emotion.
"I've dedicated this one to family, just lots of notions of family. My son was born and for me, there was a big lifestyle change. I purposely reduced my touring. I still wanted to play music, and pump up my teaching [Galeazzi teaches at the Australian Institute Of Music], and hang around Sydney a bit more. So a lot of these songs, like TRANSITIONS for instance, a loose free-time melody kind of led thing, is about that time of coming to dealing with change, which for me was fatherhood. For anyone else listening simply the the experience of transitions, nothing too subtle.THE LEAVING SONG I wrote in 15 minutes just before I got in the van for another Karma County tour, from that feeling of leaving my wife and child behind, nothing tragic but just a moment where I felt really sad."
Interview in Brag – Issue 114 – 27/6/05
With Michael Galeazzi (he who plays bass).
Very early on I learnt the rock = girls equation. 1981 - Horden Pavilion, Duran Duran. Being a boofy front row forward in Yr 9 at school I will never forget being slammed to the ground for inadvertently positioning myself between the girls and the stage. First exposure to the power of music.
My musical palette was tempered very early on by my eldest brother Peter (10 years older than me). Cat Stevens, Supertramp, America, Zappa, Pink Floyd, Neil Young and Joe Jackson all got high rotation. I travelled to the new wave of The Jam, Madness, The Cure(early stuff of course), Specials, Elvis Costello as a teen and rolled straight into the JB, Sly Stone world through Countdown and the commercial brothers like The Jacksons, Earth Wind and Fire and Chic. Then one day my mate Sean gave me Kind Of Blue 'round my 21st. The world was different now. I love all music that reaches inside and makes it all better. Miles Davis. He is the future.
Parliament, James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone. They are trying to save us. Cold Chisel, East. My own first album. Killer tunes.
The Necks - those Old Darlington School gigs in the early 90's. Beautiful. The Java Quartet: my indie jazz band.
The music connects us. We do ambient groove soul jazz. Imagine the bastard son of Coltrane and Mazzy Star (the former and I share a birthday). It's Darwinism baby. Musos must embrace the digital era. We must play for our times. The best thing is that despite all the shit, people still want to play and hear music. Locally I have heard some good Russian Brides stuff, Llyle Addonis is back in form and that latest Cog album is a corker.