The Eye is the First Circle

 Vanessa Perica Orchestra

The music on this album, with its esoteric title, is undeniably outstandingly composed and arranged by Vanessa Perica. Her second outing, following Love is A Temporary Madness, with another supersonic ensemble, was superbly recorded at the Sing Sing East Studios in Melbourne, grandstanding numerous flawlessly performed solos by some of Australia’s best improvising musicians. The bandleader, composer and arranger has created explosively expressionistic charts that would bring out the best in any orchestra. Perica utilises the chosen voices of her orchestra to highlight its musical personalities, a modus operandi prevalent to the great band leaders of the past, e.g. Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Their solos are played with finesse, and there are too many to mention all of them. On favourite tracks, Meet Me at Phoenix Street and What a Time to Be Alive, there are beautifully subtle piano sparkles from Andrea Keller, an emotionally charged tenor solo from Julien Wilson, and a passionate yet tranquil trumpet solo from Matt Jodrell. By pushing the boundaries of big band orchestral music with her contemporary skillful arrangements and unique compositions, Vanessa Perica can shine luminously in the shadow of past band leading greats, as she delivers an outstanding recording brimming with vitality and avouchment of her skills.

-Barry O’Sullivan