(4 / 5)
Australian 9-piece spiritual jazz group Menagerie drop their highly anticipated fourth album “The Shores Of Infinity” – the third LP to be released by the UK’s Freestyle Records from the Melbourne-based jazz ensemble.
Founded by producer, songwriter, guitarist, broadcaster, DJ and recording artist Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos, Lanu, Rare Groove Spectrum, Machines Always Win and the fabulous Cookin’ On 3 Burners).
Menagerie released their debut album “They Shall Inherit” in 2012 via Brighton’s Tru Thoughts, before releasing “The Arrow Of Time” on Freestyle in 2018, followed by the critically acclaimed “Many Worlds” in 2021.
Inspired by both the post-Coltrane generation of the 70’s and the current “New Wave Of Jazz”, Menagerie have made serious waves internationally, being championed on Worldwide FM, Jazz FM and Jazzwise.
They were nominated in the Best Jazz Act category of the 2021 Music Victoria Awards, and in 2022 performed as part of the esteemed Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Now, two years on from their last full length album, Menagerie are back with the most excellent “The Shores Of Infinity”.
Further expanding their sound – a forward-looking, rhythm-heavy expression of contemporary jazz that is steeped in the tradition, but also defies genre pigeonholing.
Six tracks, and by the sound if it, a labour of love. This magazine already previously bigged up the band’s single, “Kingdom”, released in July this year, taken from the album, second cut in and a fine jazz-funk groove characterized by sinewy bass lines, phased-out Fender Rhodes and the masterful trumpet of Ross Irwin.
Read more below the video…
Lance Ferguson contributes vocals, guitar, keyboards and percussion, vocals: Kate Ferguson, vocals: Rita Satch, vocals: Christin Deralas, trumpet: Ross Irwin, saxophone: Phil Noy, piano/Rhodes: Mark Fitzgibbon, bass: Ben Hanlon, drums: Felix Bloxsom, percussion/vibraphone: Phil Binotto. Produced by Lance Ferguson, mixed by Lance Ferguson and John Castle. Thee Cosmic Poet: spoken word on the title track.
Lance explains that this album “draws its inspiration conceptually from the themes of space exploration, human evolution and the future of humankind. It’s pretty big stuff to be underpinning an album of modal jazz tunes – but the main message is one of hope, and I hope that comes across in the music…”
A superb release from a superb outfit under the creative driving force of the superb Mr Lance Ferguson, on the superb UK label Freestyle Records. Menagerie: “A strange or diverse collection of people or things”. Diverse, yes. Strange, oh no. Superb seems to fit nicely…
Review by Andy Faith
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone