Danish contemporary jazz guitarist, composer and improviser Kristian Borring will release a new album ‘Earth Matters’ next month from Number Junky – a trio based in Perth, Western Australia (WA) which includes Australian musicians Zac Grafton on double bass, Peter Evans on drums, as well as the excellent New York pianist Fabian Almazan on selected tracks.
“Earth Matters” (released August 26 via Cool it! Records/Symphonic Distribution) is Borring’s sixth album, but his first album to top Number Junky and since moving to Australia. It features his original compositions and modern arrangements of tunes by Charlie Parker.
It is an instrumental album rich in lyrical melodies and ultra-lush harmonies, rhythmically hip and endowed with extraordinary technical prowess.
After cementing his name as a contemporary jazz artist in Europe, Borring settled in Perth with his Australian wife and multi-talented percussionist Genevieve Wilkins. The couple met in London where Kristian lived for 12 years, playing with Canadian pop artist Karen David and later in the band Dekata Project. Now both teachers at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and with three children aged 5, 7 and 10, Kristian continues to juggle his international musical career.
However, Number Junky is based in Perth – a new project that formed in 2020 to explore the love of odd numbers and time signatures. At the start of the pandemic, Kristian, Zac and Peter started playing once or twice a week, practicing and working on the music for over a year before recording.
Cuban/American pianist Fabian Almazan who was in Covid exile in Perth at the time of recording (along with his wife and bassist, Linda May Han Oh) also plays on a handful of tracks.
“For us, exploring numbers is really about time and rhythm,” says Borring. “As we play with polyrhythmic ideas, we particularly explore the notion of complex musical meter – in the world of jazz, also called odd meter and mixed meter.”
The title track “Earth Matters” embodies an aspect that Borring strives for in songwriting – the balance between simplicity and complexity.
“The melody seems to be quite simple with a memorable melody and a seemingly laid-back feel to time, but rhythmically and harmonically it’s actually quite complex,” says Borring. “The trick isn’t to make these challenges obvious to the listener, which I think creates an underlying tension in what seems like a sweet little melody.”
“Earth Matters” was inspired by a trip to see an interactive Earth exhibit with her children at Scitech – a local science museum.
“The exhibition was about innovations and solutions to help our civilization adapt and create a more sustainable future through compassion and science,” he says.
“I think a lot about the future of our planet and the harm we do to it, and I try to help watch over our planet in my daily life with a green mindset, which I also teach my children.
“We need a mindset shift at the top. We have so many smart, forward-thinking minds with ideas and initiatives that need to be supported and rewarded.”
“Earth Matters” will be released digitally and on CD on August 26 via Cool it! Records/Symphonic distribution.
Number Junky will pre-launch the album on August 18 at Lyric’s Underground in Maylands, Western Australia, with local piano hero Harry Mitchell, and opening for the night is Jessica Carlton on trumpet. TICKETS
The album was funded in part by the Western Australian Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries (DLGSC).