Premiered by Wax Poetics, “Leroy And The Lion”, which features Roy Ayers is the first public taste of new music from Menagerie, a spiritual jazz project from the prolific Australian producer/songwriter Lance Ferguson, best known for his eclectic and highly acclaimed work under the Lanu and The Bamboos monikers.
'They Shall Inherit’ is out December 10th/11th on Tru Thoughts via CD, vinyl and digital; featuring a guest appearance from the legendary US jazz/funk vibraphonist Roy Ayers, the album has had early support from the authority on all things leftfield, Gilles Peterson (BBC 6Music).
The first public taste of this new music is a stream of “Leroy And The Lion”, which features Roy Ayers, premiered by Wax Poetics in early October; “The Chosen” will follow as a free download in November.
For full immersion into the wonderful world of Menagerie, let’s hand over to the album’s liner notes, care of Ennio Styles (3RRR FM)…
The time is now for Lance Ferguson to use his experience and judgement to pass the information and extend the knowledge. And this time, we shall inherit. But not just us, for here comes the family. Lance Ferguson's reflections on fatherhood have shaped this album and his children’s names figure in the track titles. Songs from their father.
So who is this Menagerie that Lance Ferguson has assembled here, these angels and demons at play? Well first, this was not conceived of as a ‘Bamboos side-project’. Musically and sonically, philosophically, and in personnel, this is the articulation of other sounds. Jazz, yes, but it is also not ‘The Lance Ferguson Octet’ or some other vehicle for soloists to show off their individual chops. Where these pathways meet, the whole is indeed more than the sum of the parts. Lance Ferguson sets the example of selflessness, soloing just once and sitting out completely on all but two tunes. Other than Fallon Williams’ performance on The Quietening, most of the vocals are part of the ensemble rather than out front.
However special mention must be made of Phillip Noy and Mark Fitzgibbon, two of the musicians featured heavily on ‘They Shall Inherit’. Phil is one of Melbourne’s top saxophone technicians and for this album reconfigured his horns to match Coltrane’s settings. Just don’t expect to be able to play anything like Phil if he repairs your sax. Mark Fitzgibbon’s background includes time soaking up London’s jazz dance scene in the late 80s, playing keys at the legendary Dingwalls sessions hosted by Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge.
This View Street jazz experience was recorded with the assistance of Lance Ferguson's long-time engineer, John Castle. In recording and mixing the album, they have inherited the sound of some of the classic music of Harry Whitaker, Gary Bartz, McCoy Tyner, Weldon Irvine and the labels Tribe, Strata East and Black Jazz. Not forgetting special guest Roy Ayers, who should be credited for his vibes and vibrations. But this project is not simply a 1975 time capsule, with songs like The Chosen sounding like a live jazz take on some of the club music experiments of the 21st century producers inspired by Ayers, Mizell and the like. Back to the future.
It’s time to open the door to the cosmos and let Menagerie’s sweet songs take you sky high.
Release Date: 10 December
- They Shall Inherit
- The Chosen
- Leroy And The Lion
- The Quietening
- There Will Come Soft Rains