Thursday, 12 May 2011 00:40



Chris Abrahams, James Waples, and Mike Markovski - maybe the most creative improvising trio in Sydney.  totally UN-composed, completely free jazz by three of sydney's free-est improvisors.  Despire their differences in age and history, they clearly understand each other well enough to climb around each others sounds.  ROIL mesmerise you with the way they surge together then careen apart, ramming textures and harmonics against each other in ways that would be totally destructive in less competent hands.

I just found this overview of Mike's playing, by John Clare.  he quotes ROIL's last gig at Colbourne Ave:

"More recently I heard him in Roil ... The room has a wonderful sound, so good in fact that even when Majkowski played glissando patterns by vooming the palms of his hands on the wood of the bass I thought he was using amplification, but they were all playing acoustically. “How do you do that?” I asked. “A lot practice,” he said. “And the room. Actually I’ve done a lot of work on projection.” Using the bow and, simultaneously, rapid fingers down near the bridge, Majkowski created a maze of high notes and interacting harmonics that took my breath away. Also pings, pops and chattering. The instrument was singing and crying like several voices, and in fact he sometimes projected his own voice into it.

As with The Necks, so with Roil- in this regard at least: it is misleading to say there are no solos, but brief focus on one instrument can be the result of the others suddenly dropping in volume rather than the one shouldering itself into prominence. The isolated instrument suddenly has a kind of supernatural presence. There are a number of Australian contemporary jazz bands in which such a “solo” would be entirely in context. Others of course where it would not be seen to be serving the music."

[John Clare,]

and then he quotes Mike:

“In this regard jazz is dead. But when I play with a trio like Roil I feel I am really playing jazz. In our rehearsals we just play. There’s no verbal dialogue, or very little. There’s no leader. No one is worried about playing over anyone else. We are solving the musical problems in the moment. We got together in 2007 and we weren’t talking about playing gigs. We just enjoyed playing together. Playing no one else’s music."