Daniel Gassin Sextet
Daniel Gassin – piano
Cam McAllister – trumpet, flugelhorn
Pat Thiele – trumpet
Phil Noy – alto saxophone
Anton Delecca – tenor saxophone, flute
Michael Story – double bass
Craig Simon – drums
Felipe Cornejo – bata drums
Australian-born of French and American parents, Daniel Gassin has a unique cultural heritage, the influences of which can readily be heard in his Sextet's debut album.
The first thing that strikes the listener about this self-titled first release is the energy. Whilst it was recorded in the oft-sterile surrounds of a studio, it has the freshness and drive usually reserved for ‘live’ recordings. The ensemble playing is tight and powerful and gives voice to the compositional skills of the leader.
The really great thing about this album, though, is that the tightness of the band does not come at the expense of each individual performer. "I think this is part of the meeting in this music between French and American jazz styles", comments Daniel. "In modern French jazz, improvisational possibilities can sometimes become mired in notated sections, which, however interesting, can have a tendency to be overly complex and therefore restrictive. In this album I've tried to balance writing interesting notated sections with the competing imperative of retaining openness for the improviser and the music as a whole."
The sole Australian to reach the finals of the 2007 Bosendorfer Jazz Solo Piano Competition at the iconic Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Gassin confirms that some of the pieces on the album were directly inspired by time spent abroad. "'Roundtrip' was written in Paris after a brief sojourn in the Netherlands, whereas 'McDaniel Avenue' and 'San Jose' draw from childhood experiences visiting my maternal grandparents in California." Cultural influences aside, the most important thing about any music is that it says something.