Ritual Diamonds

Crotchety Man is no fan of ritual and has never been impressed by bling. The preparations for the coronation of King Charles III leave him cold. For the next couple of weeks, he will be ignoring the crowns and the bunting going up in the towns and the villages around here. And, when it’s all over, he will still be wondering what all the fuss was about. A certain amount of ceremony is appropriate at times, but how can we justify the expense and the ostentation of jewel-encrusted costumes, air-conditioned golden carriages and a phalanx of foreign dignitaries? I guess I’m a republican at heart.

There is one stash of Ritual Diamonds, though, that washes away the cantankerousness in the old man’s soul. It is an album of cool world jazz by the Australian musician, Christopher Hale.

Though an accomplished performer of percussion and mandolin, he is most known as one of Australia’s foremost exponents of the bass guitar, with an approach to the six-string acoustic bass that is characterized by a complex harmonic awareness (particularly his unique chordal approach), formidable rhythmic strength and a fluid and agile melodic sensibility.

The Conversation

Ritual Diamonds was released just last month. It is a relatively short album – six tracks totalling just over 35 minutes. Here’s a live version of track 2, Ch’ilch’ae (for Kim Juhong), featuring a trumpet player who is not on the studio recording. To the Crotchety Ear, the trumpet in the live performance doesn’t quite catch the vibe of the piece – whether that has anything to do with the choice of personnel on the record, I couldn’t say.

Live in Melbourne

The overall feel of the album release is one of laid back relaxation, blending traditional Western jazz with South Korean rhythms and melodies. It’s a collection of tunes that will while away the apparently endless rituals of life, never feeling clichéd and never losing its sparkle.

The full album is on Spotify here and on YouTube here.

Christopher Hale

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