Thursday, September 20, 2007

Desert Songs CD

Trevor Hart, trumpet.
Toby Wren, guitar.
Andrew Shaw, double bass.
Grant Collins, drums.

Desert Songs is our new live cd. It is a typical performance by the Trevor Hart Quartet and the 4 tracks are in fact merely the first set of a performance. The recordings are of concerts in Sydney and Maleny in Queensland.

For the uninitiated, the Trevor Hart Quartet have been playing together for more than 10years. Trevor and Andrew have been playing together for about 17 years. Andrew and Grant went to high school together. Toby is a relative newcomer being with the band for 8 years. All this experience adds up to a mature sound and musicians who know each others playing intimately. THQ acts as a musical democracy - a place where dialogue can occur freely between players. In this sense I see THQ continuing on the spirit of the original New Orleans music.

In performance THQ construct a narrative. This narrative develops within each song plus it encompasses the entire performance. Much has been written and talked about THQ's music taking the listener on a journey, being evocative and lyrical magic so I've decided to write a few liner notes to accompany Desert Songs.

1. Hymn of the Desert People.

Hymn comes from the Amantes jazz suite and is something of a signature tune. The desert I am referring to is an emotional desert but with distinct reference to the desert heart of Australia. I've been told by some who have played this tune in the outback that it fits with the landscape. If this is true then I am happy. This performance is from the now defunct Side On Cafe where we did a concert for the Sydney Improvised Music Association. It showcases Andrew's double bass. Hymn of the Desert People was recorded by Richie Belkner.

2. Tcip Tcip

Tcip Tcip was written by Toby Wren. The story goes that Toby wrote whilst travelling on a TGV through France during his honeymoon. The tune shows Toby's formidable skills as a writer and a guitarist. The trumpet used a piece of paper as a mute. This and the following tracks were recorded at the Maleny Community Centre in Queensland (my home town) by Pix Mason.

3. Wandering the Desert

This epic is THQ in full flight. Taken also from the Amantes jazz suite, it is an example of THQ's creativity and sensitivity to each other. Originally the piece was to do with aloneness and aridity but has over the years become a celebratiion of of life and music.

4. Bike! Bike!

This is a bit of fun! Complicated though.... It is in 9/4 with the 1st beat anticipated plus a little bit of serialism. The tune originates from my observations of a toddlers' attempts to walk. Toby is playing his Parker guitar. A good example of Grant's drumming.

Other bits

The mixing situations could not be in greater contrast. The Sydney mix was done in inner city Chippendale just off Parramatta Road. The Maleny mix was done ina run down farm house down a dirt road in a secluded valley. This I think reflects on the duality of THQ's orientation: at once urban and regional.

The artwork for Desert Songs was done by Joe Furlonger. The face on the cover is a detail from his Broome series and the lino cuts are from that period also. More of Joe's work can be seen at

Catscratch is a small label specialising in the releases of Trevor Hart.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007



There's been a lot said about the Trevor Hart Quartet: “lyrical magic that touche[s] the core”... ‘totally absorbing’...“beautiful”... ‘rich and evocative’...‘ a deep musical and emotional experience’ ... ‘very thoughtful atmospheric music’... the best freeform jazz Brisbane has ever seen'... 'prepare to be amazed'... the audience was absolutely blown away'... are but a few of the epithets from jazz critics around Australia.

Trevor Hart (trumpet), Toby Wren (guitar), Andrew Shaw (double bass) and Grant Collins (drums) make up THQ. I believe that THQ have a sound and approach to jazz that is distinctly particular to Queensland. This sound developed on what could be called the cultural periphery of Australia ie, not in Sydney and Melbourne. Coming out of the West End community and developing in The Valley, THQ were allowed the time and space to develop their ideas and music. Initially in West End this was done by putting on our own gigs in halls and pubs. Later in The Valley this development process was particularly facilitated by Steve Fitzgerald, the owner of Rics bar, who gave THQ the Tuesday night spot in his bar permitting us to play our brand of music.

THQ have played to amazingly diverse audiences all around Australia. From the top jazz clubs to tiny regional towns to the legendary residency of Tuesday nights at Rics Bar.

Deasert Songs cd cover artwork by Joe Furlonger

New live THQ cd

For years there'd been requests from these audiences for a live recording of THQ. Now this has come about with the release of of a new live THQ cd Desert Songs. 'Desert Songs' captures THQ in performance. Here is a band that plays like a loud chamber quartet in the sense of creativity, spontanaeity and interactivity. The four tracks occupy an hour's listening and are simply the 1st set recorded at the Side On Cafe in Sydney and the Maleny Community Centre.

'Desert Songs' will be launched with a performance by THQ at the Brisbane Jazz Club, 1 Annie St., Kangaroo Point (under the Storey Bridge) on Friday 14 September at 7.o0pm. Note the early start!