Tamil Rogeon – Son of NYX

Album Review |  Soul Bank Music | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Robert Wyatt once said “When I reach my lowest I can always pull myself out by thinking, ‘Well, there’s always Jazz …you can’t knock it’ ”  I tend to agree that at a time when we all seem to be reaching for something to cling on to, a good jazz album can sometimes do the trick.  Tamil Rogeon’s latest album has the ability to smooth out the creases in our daily lives with six lengthy pieces, threaded together by the Melbourne-based musician’s expressive viola playing.  Unlike other instruments such as the piano, the sax and the trumpet, the viola is a relatively rare lead instrument in jazz.  Stéphane Grappelli may have made the violin swing in the post war period and Jean Luc Ponty would certainly have taken his bow to some of Frank Zappa’s complex arrangements by the late 1960s, but the larger, lower, deeper member of the violin family is probably due for a long awaited curtain call.   The six pieces on Son of NYX not only showcase the instrument itself, but is also a showcase for a musical conversation between the other instruments invited along for the ride.  Gathering the cream of Melbourne’s jazz fraternity, keyboard players Sam Keevers and Daniel Mougermann, Danny Fisher on drums, Sam Anning on double bass and Javier Fredes on percussion, Rogeon allows room for some empathetic musicianship throughout.  Added to this are the almost subliminal vocal textures, provided of Allysha Joy, Jace XL, Ladi Tiaryn Griggs and Rita Satch.