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BARNEY MCALL: Mooroolbark

BARNEY MCALL: Mooroolbark

Barney McAll’s new album is both a homecoming and the story of a remarkable journey – a sonic reflection upon the distance in miles and in music he has travelled since leaving Mooroolbark, Victoria in 1989.

Recorded shortly after McAll’s return to his home country after 17 years collaborating with New York’s finest, this album sees the composer-pianist joined by a superb band of Australian musicians and the legendary French percussionist Mino Cinélu. Mooroolbark is an evocative series of tales gathered over years of travel and research, and the works exhibit diverse colours and influences ranging from gospel to Afro Caribbean styles. But anchoring the music is a distinctive compositional approach that is all McAll’s own.

“Mooroolbark” is the name given to my home town by the Wurundjeri people (“moorool” meaning great water and “bik” meaning place). They lived in the area, which is about 37 km east of Melbourne, for around 50,000 years before I arrived. The very last part of a 50,000 year time lapse would be sad to watch because so much environmental and spiritual damage would occur towards the very end. However, I decided to call this album Mooroolbark because, for many reasons Mooroolbark is why I play music.”


Barney McAll is widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s most creative and influential musicians. He studied in Melbourne with pianists Paul Grabowsky, Tony Gould and Mike Nock, before moving in 1997 to New York to join saxophonist Gary Bartz’s band. He has worked as musical director for multi-award winning vocalist Sia, as well as jazz legends such as Dewey Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Fred Wesley. He leads numerous ensembles including Sylent Running and ASIO (Australian Symbiotic Improvisers Orbit), and has also written scores for a multitude of award-winning films including Liberia: An Uncivil War and Motherland Afghanistan. Barney was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2007, and was awarded a Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts in 2007–08. In 2014 he returned to Australia to take up the Peggy Glanville-Hicks composer residency, based in Sydney.

1. Nectar Spur
2. February
3. Coast Road
4. Jendhi
5. Non-Compliance
6. Poverty
7. Transformations
8. Apple Tree (live version)
9. Mooroolbark 1974
Bonus Tracks (available exclusively on iTunes)
10. Apple Tree (studio version)
11. Sparkler

Mooroolbark is available now.

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