Machrijazz: A New Happening In Jazz Guitar by Martin Connolly


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Machrijazz is the second album by solo guitar artist Machrijam. It features twelve tracks played exclusively on guitar, overdubbed. As the title suggests, Machrijazz represents a sui generis jazz, not easily categorized. It is blues-infused, but some tracks incorporate Country ‘n' Western or even a rock feel. The playing is assured and dynamic, the songs short and tight. Indeed, the real strength of this album is that the soloing is always in service to the melody, and never meandering or indulgent. Employing no instruments other than guitar, albeit switching between a jazzy Gibson Les Paul and a charming electro- nylon stringed Ibanez, or a steel-stringed folk guitar, Machrijazz manages to create the buzz and excitement of duo or trio guitar ensembles. There is fluidity and flow and lyricism, but 'smooth jazz' this is not. There is an edge and a refreshing directness which imparts life and excitement to the music. It is not for nothing that jazz legend Larry Coryell praised a song from the debut album Machrijam (2015), saying ‘the “Blues” spirit is firmly ensconced in your soul’. Machrijazz is unique, and uniquely charming, a new happening in jazz guitar.

Standout tracks: “Machrijammin'," which is hard bop at its most uncluttered and direct, a masterclass of what to do with jazz vamping. “Two's Company" has all the makings of a jazz classic, a genuinely memorable and singable melody which develops into a waltz. “Windmills, pt.2" is intensely beautiful and lyrical. It conjures up feelings of being set happily adrift, free to embrace the most romantic of feelings. “An Underground Thang" is an exquisitely crafted groove on Les Paul, warm, joyful, but complex and warmly affecting.

About Machrijam / Martin Connolly

Machrijam is the artist name of Martin Connolly. From Belfast, Ireland. Resident in Japan since early 1990s. He is married, and has two sons. Present status: Professor in the English Department at Tsurumi University in Yokohama, Japan. Has published on James Joyce, medieval literature & contemporary Irish lit, plus in other areas. Has also published a number of works of creative writing, novel, poetry, stories with Snowchild Press.

Martin Connolly also runs a jazz website, called Jim's Garage, which features reports (and interviews with, or original photos of artists) of gigs by some of the greatest jazz artists in the world.

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