Jazz infused with stories, dramas, and rhapsodies
Melbourne contemporary jazz group The ishs/Allen Project (TiAP) launches their second album Stories Under the Sky on 17 August 2017. Led by pianist ade ishs and drummer Chelsea Allen, and supported by long-term members, bassist Paul Bonnington and trumpeter Ee Shan Pang, the ensemble has sought to expand their sound palette on their sophomore album with more acoustic instruments and dramatic, cinematic compositions. Joining the core quartet as a guest musician on the album is woodwind maestro Lachlan Davidson.
The centrepiece of this album is a broadening and deepening exploration in composition and form: the majority of the album seeks a departure from traditional, straight-ahead jazz norms. For the band, Stories represents an evolution, rather than an abrupt departure, while still acknowledging what united the band members in the first place. Overall, Stories Under the Sky accentuates more dramatic, extended and cinematic compositional structures.
The conception of the album began, funnily enough, in its ending—a duet for piano and voice titled I’ll Wait Until You Arrive, which serves as a reflection on grief and as a memoir of a friend recently departed. “Most important to me, in this stage of music making and music writing,” says Chelsea, “is strength and simplicity in the message and in the execution. Simple themes are so important and so relatable, and never cliche.” ade adds, “Most of the time, I am drawn more to compositions and arrangements than performance techniques (I’m not a big fan of ‘chop-fests’), and Chelsea is, too. That’s why we include three rhapsodies (Autumn Walk, Shades, and Moving Forward) as well as other narrative-like, quasi-rhapsodies. We feel that we’ve achieved our objective: reciting musical stories under the sky.”