Hot off the press! Prominent Wellington jazz drummer Mark Lockett has just released a new album, recorded in New York City last year with David Binney on saxophone, Duane Eubanls on trumpet, and Matt Penman on the double bass.

This cordless quartet performed compositions that Lockett created during the lockdowns. That’s one great way to turn lead to gold. The overall mood of the album is simultaneously classic and modern, making it an excellent candidate to become timeless. Fresh, juicy rhythms and ever-changing time signatures keep you on your sensory toes for over 40 minutes of mischievous fun.

The sneaky bass line of “Out on Parole”, the crumbling melody in “Rhubarb crumble”, the fizzy shake of “G&T” – all make a perfect example of keeping jazz tradition alive and vibrant in the modern musical context.

The album is colourful, relevant and engaging: all the key ingredients of really good swing. “Post Gig Blues” fully conveys the exhaustion that follows an energetic gig, while the agitated chords of “Virtual Reality” and cheery tones of “Happy go lucky” give glimpses of different moods. You can choose to suit your current soul’s desire.

The final track, “Level 4”, resonates with many of us. It is definitely not about multilevel parking or computer gaming. Lockett’s version of it feels optimistic, energetic, even busy, looking positively toward the future: an attitude whose consummation we can all now share through his music.

Lockett mentions that the Swing and Roundabout was inspired by Ornette Coleman’s cordless period, and you can hear it all over the album and most clearly in the
track “Here’s to Ornette”. But it’s not just a tribute; it is more an inspiration shaped in the modern context and moulded by Lockett’s personality and insights.

The release tour starts on February 1. Here in Wellington you can join it at Moon 1 on Thursday, 9 February.

You can buy the record here.

By Charlie Queen