Mike Nock/Laurenz Pike – Kindred (FWM Records)

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While Kindred is a collaboration between teacher and student, it’s also a relaxed dialogue between two friends in jazz legend Mike Nock on piano and Laurenz Pike on the drum kit – best known for his band PVT.

The hilariously titled ‘Mike Battles The Hydra’ is as dramatic and playful as you’d expect. It’s a little bit of a throwaway moment, but following it up immediately with the album’s most cinematic, pensive and ambient moment in ‘By Sea’ is a masterstroke and the effect is nothing short of dramatic.

The album’s centrepiece is ‘Sleepwalking’; a slow and luscious late night vignette and the closest the pair gets to a straight ballad, whilst the gentle looping of ‘Solstice’ is almost a lullaby. The slightly less polished but utterly fascinating and disjointed ‘Spring’ shows the two slowly working their way around each other’s parts and contains some of the album’s most inventive playing from both musicians.

Recorded across two improvisation sessions in Sydney, it’s a thrill to listen to these improvised tracks from two highly experienced and skilled players. Although you sometimes wish there was a wider palette of sounds especially given Pike’s recent work with a long and varied list of musicians, it’s still incredible to hear how thrilling a basic setup can sound when handled by veterans.

Wyatt Lawton-Masi

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