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Australian saxophonist David Ades has teamed up with several New York musicians to record his second album, the first being 1991’s ground-breaking Bird on a Head. Over many years spent living and playing in Asia, the U.S.A. and Australia, Ades has strongly held onto notions of authenticity and tradition whilst all the time attempting to push the boundaries of jazz. This can be clearly heard from the moment the album begins, with the catchy yet harmonically diverse La Ripaille. Discordance between Ades and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby bounce off each other, and these transform into a rich dialogue in the slower Melissa. Dreaming in Colour dabbles in avant-garde experimentalism before leading into another impressive saxophone duel, and Philstream is an ode to composer Phil Treloar who opened Ades’ eyes to classical and contemporary music. But however weird and wonky A Glorious Uncertainty may get, the album is constantly underpinned by strong melodic lines that recall Duke Ellington as much as early-20th-century expressionism. The unchanging line-up of Ades and Malaby on their respective saxes with Mark Helias on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums also ensures this well-balanced album doesn’t wander too far into overindulgence.

*** ½

  • An incredible balance of the human heart with counterpoint,form and fantasy.David Ades takes the open horn 4tet to a higher level.