Beautiful Dream – Neilsen Gough
By Aidan Roberts
No-one would have expected, in this current musical climate, that we’d see anything of the old school popular jazz world surfacing in the local Sydney scene. It’s a tough art form to do well, but Neilsen Gough is a trumpeter-vocalist with enough skill and road experience to make it work. Though carrying some unfortunate RnB inflections, his velvety baritone evokes the masters of the craft, and comparisons with Chet Baker are inevitable. His trumpet work is the main attraction, fantastically soulful and un-showy. Nestled behind Gough is his backing trio who play with exceptional sensitivity, patterns of piano and brushes working a real language into the songs, which are all written by the artist and are really quite good. Most effective is the smoky Is It Over, where Gough’s delivery is laced with genuine bewilderment and a haunted, wee-small-hours sentiment. This guy is doing something that is clearly in a niche, and despite its obscurity and occasional lapses into sameness, is certainly a treasure in the over-full ocean of scholastic jazz.