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  • Writer's pictureNiko Schauble

Steve Barry talks about his album 'Puzzles'

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Available as digital download from Steve's website

Steve Barry - piano, rhodes

Dave Jackson - alto saxophone

Alex Boneham - bass

Tim Firth - drums

All compositions © Steve Barry 2014 APRA|AMCOS

Recorded February 28 & 29 2014 at Pughouse Studios, Melbourne. 

Engineered by Niko Schauble. 

Mixed by Richie Belkner at Free Energy Device Studios, Sydney. 

Mastered by Nate Wood at Kerseboom Studios, New York City. 

Artwork by Steve Barry

Steve Barry at our Pfeiffer Piano


The stimulus for this recording was the prize I received at the National Jazz Awards in 2013, a part of which was a generous donation from Niko Schauble for day in his studio in Melbourne. The resulting album is a sort of mosaic of music - some written two years ago and some written in the weeks before the session - yet the pieces somehow come together as a unified, albeit kaleidoscopic puzzle. 

Harbinger This piece evolved entirely from the opening chord of "Paradox of Choice" (a major 7 with a flattened ninth) into a sort of stand alone prelude.  Paradox of Choice Sometimes having a lot of choice makes it harder to choose.  Forge A 16 bar cycle of chords based on stacked triads.  Unsaid Written for things left unsaid. 

Heraclitus’ Riverbed I wrote this after reading Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, particularly in response to a part where Kundera discusses the idea that various objects or people in our lives carry different meanings at different times. The melody of the song evolves through a series of fairly different chord changes, while still retaining its initial essence.  Epiphany I wrote this melody sitting on a wall of the Fortezza Medicea in Siena, Italy at sunset looking out at the Tuscan fields during a couple of months traveling through Europe.  Flux Again, this tune is derived from an initial melodic idea which appears in different forms and contexts throughout the piece. 

Kanji One morning I just finished a new tune before a rehearsal and quickly sketched it out for the rest of the band. It was so badly done that one of the guys commented the notation looked like Japanese characters…and named the tune in the process.  Idyll This is a fragment from a longer tune that seemed to fit nicely as a short feature for Tim. 

Cosmic Love Child I’ve always loved playing standards. Cosmic is inspired by Lennie Tristano and the school of musicians that developed around him in New York during the 1950s and subsequently over future generations. It brings together two of my favourite standards, East of the Sun (and West of the Moon) and (very vaguely) George Shearing’s Conception. Here Dave and I close the album playing duo, sneaking around the changes before playing the melody out. 

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