New Zealand’s jazz luminaries have assembled to form an all-star cluster: The Circling Sun.
Channeling spiritual/modal jazz and Latin rhythms, they simultaneously reference the greats such as Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane, while maintaining a fresh perspective on ensemble dynamics.
Perhaps the group’s name is no coincidence - each instrument seems to be in orbit around the concept of symbiotic synergy - and everyone is given equal space to shine; from a psychedelic Korg, to a delirious saxophone or the gentle ripples of a harp. There’s a huge array of keyboards, skillfully manned by the likes of Guy Harrison and Cory Champion (Clear Path Ensemble), with a standout acoustic piano solo by Harrison on “Plume”.
Not to be outshone, the wind section delivers ecstatic saxophone riffs, fluttering flutes and solid horn choruses throughout. Meanwhile, providing vital foundational support are the percussion (Soundway alumnus Julien Dyne), vibraphone, acoustic bass and full choir arranged by Matt Hunter.
It’s a testament to their harmonious relationship and skill that this debut album instantly sounds like a classic from a group that might have been together a decade.