The Necks Are Proud of Their Lack of Direction


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They make no plans before their concerts. Instead, they just go where their music takes them.

When the Necks take the stage at REDCAT on Thursday night, there will surely be some confused looks darting around the audience before the performance begins. If the Australian piano trio's pattern holds -- as it has for the last 22 years -- the musicians will stand over their instruments, heads bowed, waiting for complete silence to fill the room. No one moves, no one makes a sound, until inspiration strikes.

Dedicated to in-the-moment musicianship and slowly evolving group improvisations that usually swell to an hour in length, the Necks are not your typical jazz trio. Coming together out of the Sydney jazz scene in the mid-1980s, each member of the Necks felt pulled to other styles of music and music creation that didn't mesh with the musician's experience performing straight jazz.

“I think we all just felt that a lot of contemporary jazz labors under a bit of an information overload," said Lloyd Swanton, who in addition to playing bass for the Necks still performs in a number of jazz ensembles around Sydney. “There's just too much going on, and we wanted to bring things down to a much finer focus, to look at just the really basic building blocks of music and see if there was still inspiration to be gained from that."

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