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Barney McAll

Idioma disponível: inglês
Barney McAll is an Australian jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and producer. A prolific recording artist, he is active on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. His playing style crisscrosses jazz eras from bop to modal; fusion to post-bop. Since releasing 1995's Exit, his leader debut, he's recorded more than a dozen albums, played on more than 100 others, and composed over 20 film scores. 2005's Mother of Dreams and Secrets was internationally celebrated. As a sideman, McAll has worked with Gary Bartz, Dewey Redman, and Billy Harper, among others. He served as Sia's music director in 2011 and 2012. After 17 years in New York City, he returned to Australia and released the Aria award-winning Mooroolbark in 2015. 2017's Zephyrix was recorded in collaboration with the Monash Art Ensemble. 2018's Global Intimacy was inspired by the dystopian sci-fi TV drama Black Mirror and other sources; it appeared under the pseudonym TQX (aka TourniquetX). In 2022, McAll issued Precious Energy, a sprawling, integrational application of spiritual jazz, soul, and jazz-funk. McAll was born Barnaby McAll just outside Melbourne in 1966. He was raised in a very social and musical home, and his parents often held social gatherings. Lenny Barnard (a renowned Australian jazz drummer, and brother of trumpeter Bob Barnard) and his wife Jane were jazz lovers who often brought records over. McAll fondly remembers sides by Bessie Smith and Clarence "Pinetop" Smith among them -- obscurities in Australia at the time. With his mother or Jane playing piano, they would host singalongs of standards. His brother John was also an aspiring pianist, while his sister Pip was a vocalist who studied formally. These gatherings had an enormous impact on the young McAll. He began playing piano almost by osmosis. His first gig was at a Melbourne restaurant that had an upright piano. He was allowed to play whatever he liked. The fact that he received a payment of $30 and a meal proved a revelation. While the gig became a regular concern, McAll was already off following music as his muse. On his second paying gig, he worked with a quintet. The venue miked the piano, which was new to McAll, who fell in love with the power that amplification could add. McAll was soaking up many influences at this point, including the music of Mike Nock, Keith Jarrett, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, and Monty Alexander. He was also taken with the piano playing of James Booker, Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles, and the extant sonic influences of Australian trio the Necks and Brian Eno. At 18, he hitchhiked to Sydney to attend a concert by Egberto Gismonti and Nana Vasconcelos. The experience was profound, powerful, and uplifting, and McAll credits it with altering his musical DNA. From that day forward he sought to make original music that matched his experience of that evening. Between 1985 and 1989 he studied at The Victorian College of the Arts and attained a bachelor's degree -- one of his instructors was Nock. In 1992 he received a grant from the Australian Arts Council to study privately in New York City. While in America, he studied with jazz luminaries including Jim Beard, Barry Harris, Walter Bishop, Jr., Larry Goldings, Mulgrew Miller, Joey Calderazzo, and Dave Kikoski. On his way back to Australia, McAll studied in Cuba with Chucho Valdés and Ramon Valle. In 1993 he won an APRA music award for Best Jazz Composition for "Hindered on His Way to Heaven" (with trumpeter and composer Vince Jones, one of his employers at the time). Exit, McAll's debut leader date for Jazzhead, was recorded in three cities on two continents with 19 musicians. The pianist -- who wrote or co-wrote nine of its 12 selections -- was supported by outstanding players including bassists Lloyd Swanton and Philip Rex, tenor saxophonist Dale Barlow, altoist David Rex, trombonists Russell Smith and James Greening, trumpeter Scott Tinkler, and drummer Allan Browne. American saxophonist Vincent Herring and drummer Jimmy Cobb also made significant contributions. widely acclaimed, the album was nominated for an Australian ARIA Award in the category of best jazz album. Over the next several years, he emigrated to New York, and continued working with Jones live and in the studio. McAll recorded his sophomore album in America with an all-star lineup that included tenorist and co-producer Billy Harper, Herring, bassist Ben Street, drummer Jeff Ballard, and guitarist Ben Monder. Titled Widening Circles, it remained unreleased until 2012. McAll played many gigs as a sideman and led a trio in clubs. He also joined contemporary jazz group Groove Collective in 1999 and made his first appearance with them on that year's Declassified. The pianist issued Release the Day in 2000, leading an all-star group of musicians who included saxophonists Peter Apfelbaum and Gary Bartz, flutist Jay Rodriguez, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkle, bassist Tony Scherr, and drummers Kenny Wollesen and Joey Baron. Over the next several years, McAll poured his energy into live and studio work with Groove Collective as well as contributing to albums by Bartz, Herring, Greta Gertler, and many others. In 2002, the pianist toured with saxophonist Dewey Redman's quartet with bassist John Menegon and drummer Matt Wilson. In 2004, McAll contributed to DJ Jazzy Jeff's In the House and joined Fred Wesley & the JB's on Wuda Cuda Shuda. In 2005 McAll released the globally recorded Mother of Dreams and Secrets with three different groups. In Cuba he worked at State-run Egrem Studios with a stellar percussion ensemble; in Australia with an electro-acoustic ensemble featuring two bassists; and in New York with an all-star group who included conguero Eddie Bobe, guitarists Liberty Ellman and Rosenwinkle, saxophonists Harper and Jay Rodriguez, bassist Jonathan Maron, and Roseman on trombone. Later that year, McAll released the collaborative date Vivid with Badal Roy and Rufus Cappadocia. Over the next six years, the pianist continued his studio and live work with Groove Collective, Gertler, and trumpeter Tom Browne. In 2007 he was awarded the Australia Council Fellowship. In 2009 he was part of a collective with Julien Wilson, Stephen Magnusson, Mark Helias, and Jim Black on the Jazzhead date Kaleidoscopic. He also appeared on Sa-Ra's Nuclear Evolution: The Age of Love, and self-released Flashbacks on Extracelestial Arts. The latter was recorded in Brooklyn with a large, alternating group of colleagues and new faces; the latter included percussionist Pedrito Martinez, bassists Drew Gress and Matt Pavolka, and drummers George Schuller and Obed Calvaire. In 2011, McAll accepted the job of music director with pop singer Sia. He remained in that role for a bit more than a year. He also released Blueprint and Cowry Shells, two collections of unreleased original compositions documented since he arrived in New York. He also backed Andy Bey on the singer's acclaimed Companions of the Lost Ark. In 2012 Widening Circles finally saw release to laudatory global notice. That same year, McAll issued Graft with drummer Dan Weiss, vocalists Gian Slater, Sia, and the acclaimed 16-voice Invenio choir; Sia also appeared as a soloist. Graft juxtaposed the purity of the Invenio Choir and vocal soloists against a constantly morphing background of the virtual and the real, with free improvisation alongside formally notated composition; the suite looked at technology and its bizarre effects on human interaction. Both a critical and commercial success at home in Australia, it was nominated for Aria, AIR, and Bell awards. That year McAll also appeared as a guest on Universal Thump's self-titled debut and on Bartz's Coltrane Rules: Tao of a Music Warrior. The following year he issued two solo collections on Extracelestial Arts: Solo Piano Live and Chucky, Vol. 1: Swirl Cauldron Swirl. The latter was titled after his homemade instrument which included bits and pieces of kalimbas, glockenspiel, altered music boxes, AM radio, pick-ups, a wooden resonator panel, a mini mixer, and other materials. In 2015, McAll returned to Australia after 17 years in the U.S. He celebrated the occasion with the recording and release of Mooroolbark on ABC Jazz. Titled after the Wurundjeri people's name for his hometown, the LP charted and took home best jazz album award from the Australian Independent Record Labels Association and The Age Music Victoria. He was 2015's recipient of the Peggy Glanville-Hicks composer residency in Sydney, Australia the following year. At the 2016 Australian Jazz Bell Awards, Mooroolbark won the Best Jazz Album award and Best Song award for "Nectar Spur." In 2017 McAll returned with Hearing the Blood, an exercise in melding elements of soul, choral music, folk and urban jazz, eight of the set's nine tracks were cut at Sony Studios Australia, with a revolving cast that included bassist Jonathan Zwartz and vocalist Daniel Merriweather. The instrumental section of the closer "Echoless Shore" was recorded in Brooklyn, New York with vocals by Slater and the Invenio Singers added later in Australia. He also issued Baby Winter, an ambient album with drummer Genji Siraisi. In January 2018, he released Sylent Running, a collaboration with Slater and electric bassist Chris Hale that examined the relationships of opposites. Recorded in New York, the band also included drummer Ben Vanderwal, Dan West on laptop, toys, and electronics, and guitarist Nir Felder. He also released Zephyrix in collaboration with Monash Art Ensemble -- they'd commissioned the work two years earlier. McAll fused the Greek God Zephyr with the mythical Phoenix to create a hybrid beast: Each of the five birds of alchemy and transformation were invoked as muses in separate compositions in order to summon the Zephyrix; each was given its own track. Recorded in 2016 under the direction of Paul Grabowski, Zephyrix appeared through Extracelestial Arts. That year McAll began a radical new project. He created a new musical identity and band known as TQX (aka TourniquetX). Inspired by the television series Black Mirror, the film Her, and the disinformation spread through social media and mainstream news networks. Titled Global Intimacy, it used a host of vocalists including Sia, Merriweather, Slater, and others to make a collage of avant-pop, future soul, spiritually motivated contemporary jazz, and theater and film music. Released in December, it marked a striking new direction for the pianist and composer, and introduced another phase in his career. He mined that vein further on 2019's An Extra Celestial Christmas. The spacy meld of self-penned spirituals, lounge music, folk songs, original compositions, and improvisations was supported financially by the Australia Council's arts funding and advisory board. McAll didn't take 2020's massive Australian brushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic sitting down. In response to the former, he penned and released the track "Bleeding Trees" with a quintet. He also released a striking collection of exotic odds and ends under the title Lockdown Hardrive Pearl Dive to his Patreon and Bandcamp followers. The following year, as the pandemic began loosening its grip, McAll produced and played keyboards on Slater's sophisticated synth pop outing Grey Is Ground. Further, he dug into his vast tape archive and released Live Archival Recording by the Dewey Redman Quartet. Dating to 2002, the document captured the band -- McAll, Wilson, Menegon and Redman -- playing an incendiary concert in Chicago. McAll sought and received permission and blessing form Lidija Redman, Dewey's widow, for the date's official release. The pianist also put out the archival Billy Harper Quintet: Live in Brooklyn from a 1992 tour of Australia. In addition to McAll, the quintet also included trumpeter Eddie Henderson, bassist Clarence Seay, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. In March 2022, McAll turned the heads of longtime fans and newcomers with Precious Energy. After returning to Australia, the pianist and composer began widening his horizons. He experimented with tones, colors, textures, instruments, and lineups. He brought on singers and recorded with classical ensembles, he made ambient records as well as sci-fi-futurescapes and retro exotica with a 21st century twist. Precious Energy intersected all the phases in his career yet offered an entirely different, wildly celebratory direction as it joyously crisscrossed soul, jazz-funk, and pop. He introduced it on his Bandcamp page with the words: "2020 and 2021 were tough -- this music was made as a balm for me and can hopefully be one in some way for you too." Enlisting Melbourne's top-shelf soul-jazz vocal ensemble Hiatus Kaiyote, Bartz, Laneous, Belle Bangard, Jace XL, and Rita Satch, Precious Energy paid homage to some of McAll's heroes including Leon Thomas, Pharoah Sanders, Stevie Wonder, and John Coltrane. The album was greeted with laudatory notice by Gilles Peterson, Rolling Stone, and many other news and cultural outlets.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
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