Bernie McGann

McGann McGann

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McGann McGann is just that: all McGann, Bernie McGann that is. The songs, with the exceptions of James Greening's opener, "Second Wind," and Thelonious Monk's closer, "Ask Me Now," explore the Australian alto saxophonist's slightly warped singsong take on bebop. They are plainspoken and jaunty. McGann's own vocal, idiosyncratic solo voice dominates the proceedings. He's aided in this by regular collaborators bassist Lloyd Swanton and drummer John Ponchee. Trombonist James Greening, another familiar associate, proves the perfect complement in the front line. He employs the vocabulary of bop with a rubbery tailgate articulation. Both he and McGann whip up melodic figures that sound like folk songs filtered through jazz. McGann himself typically spews forth lines that extend his own quirky compositions. The lines spill over the bar lines with the naturalness of an animated speech. The sound of the human voice informs his tone. McGann is the rare player who can include a Monk composition, played as a soliloquy, and not have it overshadow his own work. McGann is a name deserving greater recognition, and McGann McGann is a good place to start.

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