Mike Nock Quartet – Saturday, 4th of November 2023:
“No one does wistfulness better than Mike Nock. Although perfectly capable of evoking infinite moods and feelings at the piano, he does wistfulness with distinctive unsentimentality. It’s the kind of sadness that might be expressed with a half a wry smile, and is always couched in beauty because Nock, above all, is an aesthete who has ever greater command over his art.”– John Shand reviewing Mike’s new album ‘Hearing’ in the SMH
With a new album just released and seventy years of playing under his belt, jazz pianist Mike Nock continues to perform, compose, and mentor.
- Mike Nock – piano
- Karl Laskowski – tenor saxophone
- Brett Hirst – bass
With special guest George Greenhill on drums.
The 1st of September performance marked the tenth anniversary of the opening of Foundry616, which Nock had played with the same band in 2013. Karl Laskowski was on tenor sax, Brett Hirst on bass, and James “Pug” Waples on drums, all of them younger than Nock by many decades. They mostly played Nock’s compositions, including “Vale John,” a piece from his new Hearing album. They also played Ornette Coleman’s 1958 Jayne. It was edgy music that left plenty of room for improvisation and extended solos from Nock and Laskowski, as well as Hirst and Waples. Along with Cecil Taylor, another free jazz exponent, Coleman was one of Nock’s early musical influences.
Nock might disregard age, but even so his latest album is not a young pianist’s music. The thirteen lyrical, spare pieces on Hearing, released on ABC Jazz in July, are mostly his own compositions and all are played solo on piano. Their mood is often elegiac. They are the creation of a mature artist unconcerned by flourish and display.
The album brings reminders not only of his long career, of the development of a style drawing on free jazz, bebop, hard bop and fusion, of nearly thirty years of playing in the United States when jazz was in one of its most creative phases, but also of his love of Bach. At home “I play a lot of Bach these days, the inventions, partitas, fugues — I play a lot, badly,” he says. Bach is a “compendium of stuff. As a reference tool it is the best, a great springboard.” “You might hear a bit of Bach” in his recent album, “because it is there.”