Tom Botting Quintet
Self Released
5 stars
Reviewed by Keith Pettigrew

Recorded live in the Rogue and Vagabond Jazz Club in Wellington NZ in that golden period after first COVID lockdown, Vagabond pairs with the already released and equally evocative Rogue. But it took the pandemic and inherent lockdowns to refocus on significant performances. Bassist Tom Botting is a New Zealander, but has found a place in Sydney’s jazz scene. He completed his PhD in jazz studies at the Sydney Conservatorium, but returned to avoid Sydney’s lockdown, then got locked-down in New Zealand, to return to Sydney’s lockdown. His quintet has some of Wellington’s most formidable musicians, improvisers, home brewers and bakers: Callum Allardice (guitar), Jake Baxendale (saxophone), Daniel Hayles (piano) and Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa (drums). The tunes evoke images of Aotearoa New Zealand. The first three tracks were inspired by a road-trip from the east coast of the South Island. Of these, Lewis Pass grows out of a striking bass solo. Searching for the Coast is a translation of the Te Reo Maori name for the Shotover River, and has the feel of such a river. It flows both physically and musically into The Remarkables | Kawarau, the mountain range overlooking Queenstown, a great final track. This is at once atmospheric and scenic, as it is deeply meaningful and imaginative jazz. Relaxing but intriguing. Heartily recommended.