Born: August, 1973 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
by Matt McMahon
Richard Maegraith, like the musicians he has assembled for this recording, is one of the most respected musicians in the city in which he spends most of his time in Sydney. It is always tempting to list the great achievements of a musicians career and the great players with whom he has worked over years of performances and recordings. But improvising is always about being in the moment, making real time decisions and looking ahead - which is something all of the musicians on this recording manifest again and again throughout these series of pieces.
Richard and I played together a lot when we first met as students at the Sydney Conservatorium in 1993. He displayed in those days the skills that would serve him well on his path towards a career in music: technique, versatility, a gift for melody, composing and arranging flair, deep knowledge of and respect for the great contributors on his chosen instruments.
But what I hear on this recording are the parts of Richard’s nature shining through. He is a person with a great commitment to music and a person of great integrity in all parts of his life. His warm, fluid sound, is used in the service of deep communication. Richard’s compositions on this recording display a love for jazz but venture into other territory, original territory whenever the expression demands it. Much preparation is needed for a recording session such as this: composing , selecting which compositions will work well together. But in the end what we hear is the result of Richard asking other musical spirits to come on a journey with him to a place that by its nature is always going to be somewhat unknown. He has assembled a cast of collaborators who have come together to create something new.
For me, when I hear this music, I hear musical voices and personalities conversing on the compositions Richard has brought to the table. All of the musicians are known to me in various ways and I have the utmost respect for them. Jonathan Zwartz has always combined a deep groove with natural lyricism which you can hear throughout this recording. Gary Daley brings his skills on accordion and fender Rhodes to this session contributing powerful solos and ensemble playing which is always alert to what is going on around him. Tim Firth in his few years on the scene has established himself as a drummer who is simultaneously powerful and tasteful. Kristen Berardi has been making international waves for a few years now. Her ease of delivery and her attention to the detail of the singers craft always at the service of musical expression.
Communication, that is the essence of the sounds we hear on Free Running. What this album communicates is the joy of communication itself; friends who are prepared to listen and contribute to a musical dialogue which ebbs and flows with its own shape. When I listen I have the simultaneous pleasure of hearing beautiful sounds and hearing the individual musical voices of my friends exploring, creating, and sharing something together. Now we can all share in it too.
The opening of this unusual disc seems to promise breezy French movie jazz (a genre I perversely enjoy). There is wordless unison voice and even a piano accordion. Things change rapidly. Many tracks have brilliant vocals (with lyrics) by Kristin Beradi.
They are love songs but clues tell me the loved one is a symbol of Christ, in the Renaissance tradition. One clue is that Richard Maegraith is a committed Christian. One song is for Beradi's baby. Maegraith is also a superb tenor saxophonist, with a handsome tone and powerful expressiveness. As the disc progresses, his solos become more and more remarkable. Jonathan Zwarts's bass is a powerful element.
This is not happy clappy but serious, sometimes disturbing. Now you're in the know, you may even contemplate the idea of original sin in Eden's Story.
pop/rock (Carl Riseley, Ahmad Dhani, The Black Sorrows, Wonderbrass, Gotham City Horns, Nikki Bennett, Big Toy, Reverend Funk, Buzz Band)
latin (Tigramuna, Cumana, Candela), world (Badema),
funk (Voodoo Jazz Collective, Kthwack, Daryl Aberhart, Jeff Duff) or
television/theatre (Kerry-Anne Kennerley, Midday Show, Good News Week, Great Outdoors, Crazy For You, Showboat, Tom Burlinson)
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
I've taught children through to adults. I usually prefer older teenagers and adults.