Roil – Frost Frost: Jazz Improv and beauty alive and well in Sydney

I’m off to see The Necks tonight – lucky lucky me – so there will be a review of that concert tomorrow. Today I thought I would review Roil Frost Frost, as they are another Sydney Jazz improv band – an off shoot project of The Necks Pianist Chris Abrahams in fact.

Roil is: a trio of heavyweights from Australia’s improvised music movement that includes James Waples of the Mick Nock Trio, The Splinter Orchestra’s Mike Majkowski and Chris Abrahams of The Necks.

Roil is a piano trio comprising Chris Abrahams, pianist of the Necks, with Mike Majkowski and James Waples. This in another band in the free tradition, but considerably different from Chris’ Necks. There’s more a sense of free and other forms of jazz, and avant-guard classical. Chris will often play at a frantic pace against the more walking feel of the bass and drums. There is still a lot of searching and quiet music for big ears and unconventional use of the instruments. All in all it’s quite a different feel from The Necks, which I guess is why Chris wanted to get something different happening.

Frost Frost is the second LP from Roil. Frost Frost, available as a limited edition of 500 copies on the good old dependable CD, is an excellent extension of their collective talent. Here, they spend the course of this seven track set furthering their intent to meld the worlds of free jazz, minimalism and ambient music in a way that has never been explored before, especially within the context of a piano trio on this challenging and rewarding record.

Samples of Frost Frost can be heard here, and don’t forget it’s sales through Bo’ Weavil Recordings  are limited. 



On Frost Frost, the main track (centrepiece) is ‘Water Servant’ picks and plucks its way through various intangible incantations, but for the most pat most part, the tracks (improvs) on Frost Frost are either passive or an aggressive approach to their music making. There are the minimalist tracks, like ‘Honeydew’ and ambient sounds like ‘Costume of Melody’, ‘Frost Frost’ and ‘The Absence of Air’ .  Then the free jazz excursion, ‘Super Victim’ which has a brooding tone, come across as more aggressive.

The ensemble is as tightly connected as you would expect from musicians of this calibre.  While some reviews suggested it perhaps lacked a little imagination, I found the entire mood of the album to sultry and exciting.  Along with my Necks discs, I think it’s the perfect way to get into the mood for tonight.

You should see my grin!