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South Coasting by The Vampires

The Vampires funk infused jazz presented on their latest release South Coasting empowers bebop with bangles of Latin-dance, cool funk, acid jazz, tribal grooves, and mellow blues. The jazz quartet from Australia showcase dueling horns between saxophonist Jeremy Rose and trumpeter Nick Garbett who, at times are solidly unified, and at other times they move along two separate trails. The dynamics of the horns are the filling in the pie while the rhythm section provided by double bassist Mike Majkowski and drummer Alex Masso form the crust which holds it all together. Some tracks feature special guest Shannon Barnett on trombone who adds a lower register to the melodic fabric causing the horns create a 3-lane bypass.

The horns produce a call and response exchange through "Action/Reaction" managing bristles of funky wavelets and bebop springs. The sleek stylistics of the twirling horns form a relaxing setting through "The Beating Sun" welded to a bluesy rhythmic strut. The Latin flavoring in the flouncy horns of "Vampires Vamp Sesh" trade off lead roles while harnessing a cheery bebop syncopation. The exchanges become conversational creating cycles of excitement and slow rotations. The sluggish movements of "Long Time" enable the horns to intercept and entwine their lanes, while the tribal beating of "Extinction" cause the horns to tumble down and climb back up through the stanzas. The rhythm section acclimates to the twittering horns of the title track "South Coasting" cabling Latin-tinged hollers and shakes while simultaneously pasting funky toots through the chambers.

The Vampires keep the pace upbeat and the coordinates clipping free-style movements along "Geo Jem" fusing reggae and cool jazz as the horns ride in unison and disperse periodically, rising and slumping across the grooves. The melancholic vibrations of "Hole In The Sky" exude a somber mood while the zen-like bebop horns of "Mothers Dance" produce upbeat trails. The dueling horns of "Happy Vamping" create a quick tap dancing tempo as the slow hopping steps of "Melting River" balance on a classic jazz axis while permeating a tender breeze through the downy aura.

The Vampires model their compositions using modern tooling and bebop schemes. They infuse slabs of blues, funk, reggae, and tribal beats into their tunes making for a free-style blend. The quartet formed in 2004 while studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Their influences include Charlie Parker, Bernie McGann, and Ornette Coleman. The Vampires straddle the line between classic jazz structures and free-style improvisations on South Coasting. Their modern thinking is apparent and it gives the album a propensity to improvise material, which makes The Vampires standout from the rest.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The Vampires
  • CD Title: South Coasting
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Jazz Groove Records
  • Tracks: Action/Reaction, The Beating Sun, Vampires Vamp Sesh, Long Time, Extinction, South Coasting, Geo Jem, Hole In The Sky, Mothers Dance, Happy Vamping, Melting River
  • Musicians: Jeremy Rose (alto saxophone), Nick Garbett (trumpet), Mike Majkowski (double bass), Alex Masso (drums), and special guest Shannon Barnett (trombone)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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