The Necks: kings of experimental jazz

necksSydney band The Necks started jamming their improvised jazz compositions way back in 1987 – and not only are they still standing today, they’ve grown into one of the most respected musical trios in the world. With just piano, bass and drums, the band create instrumental pieces on the spot, totally improvised and rising and falling with incredible power.

The Necks don’t make albums in the traditional sense. Instead of a selection of different songs, Necks records feature just one or two extended compositions, sometimes up to an hour in length. Their debut album Sex is an Australian cult classic, their 2001 album Aether has been added into the Australian national sound archive, and now 25 years on they’ve released album number sixteen, Mindset.

But it’s probably The Necks’ live show which really proves their talent. The band gets up on stage and improvises for an hour, before taking a quick break and launching into another hour of jamming. No two Necks shows are the same. It’s a musical spectacle which for years has amazed audiences and critics the world over – in fact the New York Times has described them as one of the greatest bands in the world.

On Sunday night The Necks bring their extraordinary live show to The Gov in Adelaide, as part of a national tour. Nick chatted to bass player Lloyd Swanton during the week, while he was with the band in Melbourne to kick off the tour.

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