ALFI Records Re-Issues Darryn Farrugia's "Seeds"
Joining ALFI Record's recent crop of CDs is "Seeds" from Melbourne-based drummer/composer Darryn Farrugia. The eight-song re-issue of mostly Farrugia originals is available now.
Farrugia learned his craft as a child by playing along to pop records by Tom Jones, Neil Diamond and Elvis Presley. As a teenager, he discovered jazz and found his true musical calling. This led to studies at the Victorian College of the Arts at Melbourne University, followed by additional studies in the United States. His wide ranging list of credits include recording sessions for movie soundtracks, advertising jingles and gigs with some of the world's best known stars such as B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Eartha Kitt, Jackson Browne, Petula Clark, Hugh Jackman and Olivia Newton John. He was the drummer for Australia's comedic TV show "Hey, Hey It's Saturday" and has written instructional books exploring various groove styles of drumming called, "Groove Perspectives."
On "Seeds, " Farrugia wrote all of the album's eight songs, with the exception of "Just Another Rumor, " which was composed by Colin Hopkins. The drummer, who also performs on keyboards on this release, brings together a Who's Who of Australian session players to join him in this masterpiece of fusion. His cohorts in sound are: Luke Howard (piano), Colin Hopkins (piano), Craig Newman (bass guitar), Alex Pertout (percussion), Ben Robertson (bass), Jonathan Zion (bass), Leonard Grigoryan (guitar), Glenn Cannon (guitar) and Gavin Pearce (bass). Special guests include Mike Stern (guitar), label mates Phil Turcio (piano) and Joe Chindamo (piano), with additional assistance from Ross Cockle (mix engineer), Ethan Cooke and Patrick Bettison (harmonica). The late saxophonist Bob Berg also joined the band on two tracks.
"Seeds" first track is "The Chase Scene." From the opening notes of a lone piano, the song sounds as if it could be part of a police procedural, going from point A to point B, gathering up more instruments like evidence, and gaining in complexity as it continues. "Monkey's Wedding" takes inspiration from an African folkloric term and features a piano solo by Phil Turcio as well as a string quartet, but it's the ending sound of a solo harmonica that lingers. The intricate and zippy "Making Joe's Coffee, " features an acoustic guitar solo that is evocative of sunny Mediterranean cultures and bright café society. A drum beat opens the laconic, almost cowboy feel of "Her Neck of the Woods, " that also includes a lovely harmonica and piano interaction.
Toward the end of the title track "Seeds, " there is a shift, a kind of amping up of the guitar and drum that launches the song towards rock and roll territory. The sad, slow lament that comes through in "Just Another Rumor" is due to the melancholic playing of Mike Stern and his guitar. Farrugia lived in London for four years while gigging at places like Ronnie Scott's and playing in "Thriller" on the West End. With the thump of a bass line and accompanying sitar, the feeling of Asia via this London neighborhood comes through in "Brick Lane, " mashing up a bit of India into the jazz fusion cauldron. Like many of the songs on "Seeds, " there is a session musicians' insider knowingness. On "Too Out, " (a play on the term meaning two instruments improvising together), a drum roll starts us off quickly followed by a muscular saxophone in a friendly match up making the listener feel like they could be in the jazz club watching two musicians fully engaged in the moment.
With the release of "Seeds, " Darryn Farrugia and friends clearly reject the cliché about drummers being loners who prefer their own company. As "Seeds" proves, some drummers accomplish more than just establish the beat. Here Farrugia celebrates modern jazz, planting with "Seeds, " a welcome collaboration of artists jamming together under a sunny fusion sky.
ALFI, which stands for Art Lab For Innovation, is an international, multicultural record label founded by jazz guitarist Albert Dadon (aka Albare). In addition to "Seeds, " the roster also includes records by Arturo Sandoval, Joe Chindamo and Zoe Black, Phil Turcio and César Orozco, with new music coming from Axel Tosca and Albare. Based in Melbourne, with branches in New York, Los Angeles and Munich, ALFI is distributed in the United States by MRI Associated Labels.
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