Alister Spence Trio | Mercury

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AUSTRALIA - New South Wales

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Electronic: Soundscapes Moods: Featuring Piano
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by Alister Spence Trio

Contemporary, exciting, beautiful and highly original jazz music from one of Australia's most inventive piano trios
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Alpha
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2:39 $0.99
2. Momentum
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8:25 $0.99
3. Luminescence Intro
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2:01 $0.99
4. Luminescence
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9:15 $0.99
5. Eagle Man
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7:50 $0.99
6. Mercury Intro
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1:50 $0.99
7. Mercury
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7:58 $0.99
8. Sixteen
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6:55 $0.99
9. Marco Polo Goes West
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5:57 $0.99
10. Pi
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1:47 $0.99
11. Never Forget
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9:01 $0.99
12. Bright Starlight
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5:32 $0.99
13. Omega
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1:37 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
‘One of the most illuminating musical entities I’ve ever encountered’ Drum Media, Sydney Australia

Alister Spence- piano / samples
Lloyd Swanton- double bass
Toby Hall- drums, glockenspiel

This trio was formed in Sydney over ten years ago and brings together three of the most exciting, innovative and experienced musicians in contemporary, original Australian jazz music.
They have released three trio CDs on the Rufus Records label, distributed in Australia by Universal Music.

'Mercury', the latest release has received critical acclaim and is just starting to be discovered overseas.
Recorded following the trios hugely successful tour of the UK and Canada in June/July last year (2006) and released in Nov 2006, this CD reflects the energy, interplay, excitement and beauty that captured audiences imaginations from London to Glasgow, Vancouver to Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.
It comprises thirteen original tracks composed by Alister and the band.

The melodies, improvisations and acoustic/sampled textures, reflect the highly individual musical journey that the trio is on and point the way to new and exciting possibilities.....

'Soothing atmospherics, flying swing, meaty grooves, free improvising and tranquil pools of lyricism all come and go, beautifully played and sensationally recorded.
The transformations are always guaranteed to draw you into their captivating musical worlds.’ Review of 'Mercury', Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 2006.

The band's two other releases are 'Flux', nominated for Best Australian Jazz Album in 2004 (‘Sydney-based pianist Alister Spence plays like a dream’ Financial Review), and 'Three is a Circle', released in Australia in 2000 and also in Japan (2003) on the Earth Spirit label.
‘It would be no exaggeration to say that Spence is fully rivalling the pianists that have brought about the present boom in piano trio music’
Swing Journal, Tokyo 2003

The three members of this band have a long history of playing together, being well known for their collaboration in the ARIA (Australian Record Industry Awards) award-winning band Clarion Fracture Zone (also winner of Five Stars in Downbeat Magazine USA for their 1993 release Zones on Parade).
They are recognised individually as leading performers and composers in contemporary original jazz music in Australia, enthralling audiences both here and around the world.
Lloyd Swanton (bass) is well know to European audiences through his band 'the Necks'

As a trio this band is noted for its engaging, strong compositions and for the synergy, interplay and energy that they have together.

As previously mentioned they have recently returned from an outstandingly successful tour of clubs and festivals in the UK and Canada in June/July 2006.
The band plans to return overseas in 2008.

Reviews from the tour were unanimously positive:
'Compelling....and harmonically inviting' Edmonton Journal, CAN July 06
'The trio's experience together is reflected in a fluency and understanding that allows them generally to change pace and develop pieces with apparent ease....Dynamic music full of incident and building an exciting momentum.' The Glasgow Herald, UK June 06

'Spence has that priceless gift of always leaving you wanting more...He is never less than absorbing.' Jazzwise Magazine, UK Nov 06

For more information on 'Mercury', photos and MP3 files go to the website:


to write a review

Cadence Magazine (NY) June 2007

'Just when you think you’ll never like another piano trio record, along comes so


An Australian piano trio incorporating electronics and featuring Swanton on bass? No, it’s not the Necks but this group has a similar surfeit of creative energy and ideas.
It really starts with Spence, a wonderfully imaginative pianist with considerable stylistic range. At times (on “Alpha,” for example) his playing is drifting and impressionistic, with an almost Evans-like introspection. Elsewhere, as on “Momentum,” he displays an instinct for the riff and employs some tight left-hand figures. Perhaps the most consistent stylistic impulse he evinces, however, is the influence of Keith Jarrett (his interpolation of idioms, his lyrical intensity).
And regardless of where his stylistic inclinations lead him, he’s got wonderful colleagues. Swanton’s very elastic lines suggest an Eddie Gomez influence to me, while Hall is a real delight, both tasteful colorist and vigorous groove merchant.
Honestly they’re at their best when pulse is at the fore, on tracks like “Momentum” (where Hall blends Swing and electronica), “Mercury” (like Tristano on steroids sitting in on The Necks’ “Hanging Gardens”), or “Marco Polo Goes West” (with more shifts in tempo and meter than you can count).
But they never sacrifice the space for expression at the heart of their music. Whether they’re engaging in some spidery free improv (“Eagle Man”), gently integrating electronics (on the opener or “Luminescence,” with both live and sampled glockenspiel), or on ballads that are unafraid to be plain pretty (“Sixteen”), the group proves they have other virtues as well.
Just when you think you’ll never like another piano trio record, along comes something delightful like this.


'An excellent example of the high standard of jazz now emerging from Australia'.
RF075 ****

Alister Spence (p; samples), Lloyd Swanton (b) and Toby hall (d).

This is the third album by the Alister Spence Trio, and is an excellent example of the high standard of jazz now emerging from Australia, so for anyone curious about this fascinating scene, here’s a great place to start. Spence, together with drummer Toby Hall (who is also a member of Mike Nock’s current trio), emerged as a talent to watch from the Clarion Fracture Zone. Lloyd Swanton is a founding member of the The Necks so that between them, they cover something of a who’s who of a critically acclaimed corner of Oz jazz.
Spence can be a superbly forthright pianist (‘momentum’) but is also lyrical and thoughtful on the ambient ‘Luminescence.’ This is a departure from the previous two albums with three short episodic bursts (‘Alpha’, ‘Omega’ and ‘Pi’) and two intros (to ‘Luminescence’ and ‘Mercury’) that involve samples that give a haunting, other worldly feel and offer tonal variation to the familiar sound of a piano trio.
But whether it is the Gamelan-like opening of ‘Sixteen’ or the twisting edgy theme of ‘Marco Polo Goes West’, Spence gives evidence of musical growth with his ability to sustain musical interest with originality and ease of execution.