Finn Rees: Dawn is a Melody

Rating: ★★★

Record and Artist Details


Allysha Joy
Blakely McLean Davies (g)
Siwei Wong (hp)
Finn Rees (ky)
Lucky Pereira (d)
Audrey Powne (t)
Cheryl Durongpitikul (ts)


Mr Bongo


Media Format:

CD, 2 LP, DL

Catalogue Number:



Rec. 2023

Tasmania, Australia’s island state, is a place of clean air, rugged forests, and wind-whipped beaches, where gnarly trees jut from coastal rocks and sunrises are soundtracked by birdsong and wildlife chatter - and here by Tassie-born, Melbourne-based keys player Finn Rees. This fine debut - as ambient and cinematic as it is propulsive and bold - is apparently Rees reflecting on the landscape he grew up in.

A concept album, then, bolstered by full-sounding players on brass, strings, guitar and vocalese, with a musical arc intended to take the listener from beginning (the harp-laden ‘Looking Up’ conjures the world into being) to middle (‘Behind Me Now’ is a filmic soul journey) to end (‘As It Passes’ is increasingly intimate piano-and-strings). Still, with 1970s Yamaha grand piano and vintage mics feeding the warm, analogue aesthetic, with spiritual jazz meanderings redolent of Alice Coltrane and the Hancock-style sonic rainbows being painted by keys, Dawn Is... feels more like an accomplished paean to the masters and their tropes than anything new. Nonetheless, it’s an effective snapshot of the talent and versatility of the young Melbourne jazz scene, and positions Rees as a bandleader, composer and musician whose profile, like that Tasmanian sun, is guaranteed to rise.

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