Harry Mitchell
5 stars
Reviewed by Barry O’Sullivan

In producing his sixth album under his name and his thirteenth as a leader, Harry Mitchell wanted to create an album with a unifying theme, particularly one that could convey something about our lives through music. Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols provided him with the perfect springboard for this process. In his book, Jung proposes that some symbols and ideas are part of a universal human consciousness that has a parallel to how musicians communicate when they are improvising. Performing with Mitchell on Archetypes is a high-octane quartet of Western Australian-based first-call musicians. Saxophonist Jamie Oehlers, bassist Karl Florisson, trumpeter Ricki Malet, and drummer Ben Vanderwal encompass the musical influences on the album, with the pianist Cecil Taylor and the saxophonist Steve Coleman embracing a spread of styles, moods, and tempos. Mitchell’s pianism and composition are full of gradation and dash with a soupçon of grace. Thus, the album is appropriately titled. The ensemble ducks and dives through his compositions like Hero with its changing time patterns, sprints through Jester, and gently strokes the face on a favourite piece, Lucid Dreaming, exhibiting that this band is one tight working team creating a stellar recording.