Danish contemporary jazz guitarist, composer and improviser Kristian Borring will next month release a new album ‘Earth Matters’ by Number Junky – a trio based in Perth, Western Australia (WA) which features Australian musicians Zac Grafton on double bass, Peter Evans on drums, as well as outstanding New York-based pianist Fabian Almazan on selected tracks.
‘Earth Matters’ (out on August 26 via Cool it! Records/Symphonic Distribution) is Borring’s sixth album, but his first album leading Number Junky and since moving to Australia. It features his original compositions and modern arrangements of Charlie Parker tunes.
It’s an instrumental album rich in lyrical melodies and ultra-lush harmonies that’s rhythmically-hip and features extraordinary technical prowess.
After cementing his name as a contemporary jazz artist in Europe, Borring has settled in Perth with Australian wife and multi-talented percussionist Genevieve Wilkins. The couple met in London where Kristian lived for 12 years, playing together 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 music career.
Number Junky though, is Perth-based – a new project that formed in 2020 to explore a love of numbers and odd time signatures. In the early days of the pandemic, Kristian, Zac and Peter started playing once or twice a week, practicing and workshopping 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 (with his wife and bassist, Linda May Han Oh) also plays on a handful of the tracks.
“The exploration of numbers for us really refers to time and rhythm,” Borring says. “While we play with polyrhythmic ideas what we explore in particular is the notion of complex musical meter – in the jazz world also referred to as odd-meter and mixed meter.”
Title track ‘Earth Matters’ embodies an aspect Borring strives to achieve in composition – the balancing of simplicity and complexity.
“The tune appears to be pretty straight forward with a memorable melody and apparent laid-back time feel, but from a rhythmic and harmonic perspective it is actually pretty complex,” Borring explains. “The trick is not to make these challenges obvious to the listener, which I think creates an underlying tension in what appears to be sweet little tune.”
‘Earth Matters’ was inspired by a trip to see an interactive exhibition about Earth with his kids at Scitech – a local science museum.
“The exhibition was about innovations and solutions towards helping our civilisation 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 are doing to it, and I try to contribute to watching over our planet in my daily life with a green mindset, which I also teach my children.
“We need a change in mindset at the top. We have so many clever and forward-thinking minds out there with ideas and initiatives that needs 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 featuring local piano hero Harry Mitchell, and opening 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).