Land Of If
Land of If is a playful foray into intimate moments of our everyday lives—a wistful reverie, a shadow of time going by, the smile of the one we love, small mistakes either innocent or not, and the local heroism of confronting them.
The group explores the sonic possibilities of their combined talents through a set of nine compositions. Taking nothing at face value, they often turn the roles of their instruments inside out, creating a sound unique to themselves.
Drawing from their collective experiences in classical, jazz and folk music, Ball Hanlon Schulz have been honing an ensemble identity over five years. Anthony and Eugene have played together sporadically in a variety of groups over the years, and when they became colleagues, lecturing at the same institution, they decided to form a group. Ben Hanlon was an immediate choice to complete the ensemble, as well as being a former student of Eugene’s during the latter years of high school.
Anthony Schulz is an Aria award winning musician with a background in jazz, improvisation and European folk. In The Land of If, he cajoles and compels the piano accordion into romantic, at times forceful, ebbs, flows and sweet bantering conversation. The instrument charms us with its voices speaking many truths and fictions, sometimes forming the ocean-like foundation of a given piece, other times eloquently explaining to us the harmonies with certainty and precision.
“Schulz…dragged ripples of hand-cranked tremolo while igniting some fast and ferocious polyphonies, sounding like an armwrestle between Astor Piazzolla and Sun Ra.”
- Lenin Simos, db magazine
Eugene Ball has received international acclaim for his improvisation, jazz and composition. Ball’s trumpet is unmistakeable. Its declarations, murmurings, whispers, wonderings, exaltations and question marks are posed throughout this album in tones confident, at times breathless, always curious. His masterful trumpet takes us places we did not expect to go, and when we follow, we find ourselves saying, ‘well of course, I just never thought of it like that’.
"Ball's dazzling playing fitted between the mercurial and the wrenching…"
- John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald
Ben Hanlon’s double bass has seen much of the world—both geographically and musically. As a full-time member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, his double bass still enjoys (and is enjoyed by many) flexing its less composed muscle with jazz ensembles in Australia and beyond. On this album, he leads us with a wry smile by the hand, skipping through deceptively complex terrain, assuring the listener that we are in good hands as we navigate the trio’s soundscapes and song. And then just as surely, he’ll drop our hand and expose us to the true virtuosity of the instrument, awakening us to the great heights that we have ascended in the company of these magicians.
“In this three-quarters-of-an-hour CD I came to think of Ben Hanlon as a modern master, subtle, a gently incisive soloist and accompanist… I hope he is accepting the best students and transforming lives”
- Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives, New York