Friday, 30 March 2012

The Hobbit Suite - John Sangster (1973)

I love John Sangster. The fact that this man is not considered a national treasure may be one of the greatest injustices of Australian history. Anyway, here we find him doing what he does best: playing slightly weird, trad-ish jazz with his mates in an attempt to evoke the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (the man had vision). This record is similar to the later works that Sangster would do in this series, Lord Of The Rings Volume I (1975) and II (1976). Favourite titles are Gandalf The Whiz and Bilbo Baggins Takes A Trip. Favourite song is the awesome coolness of Beorn's Bear Dance. Just a straight-up great jazz record with a hell of a lot of personality and an incredible level of musicianship. If this album piques your interest, check out the totally brilliant Australia And All That Jazz.

Label: Swaggie, produced by Nevill L. Sherburn.
Released: 1973
Players: John Sangster - vibes, marimbaphone, celesete, percussions
Bob Barnard - trumpet, flugelhorn
John McCarthy - clarinet, soprano, tenor saxophone
Col Nolan - piano
George Thompson - bass
Len Barnard - drums, washboard
Ian Bloxsom - percussions


  1. the most refreshingly original shrine i've visisted in months. thanks again + again. i have once around the sun if fer some unlikely reason you haven't heard it

  2. Thanks! I've been meaning to get that one for a while (the Roundtable reissue) but just haven't got around to it yet. Definitely check out the two Australia And All That Jazz records if you haven't already - an incredible and unique combination of Sangster's seventies jazz sound fused with field recordings from the Australian bush.

  3. Love this one! I dig Sangster and what of his various works I've heard but all I have from him as leader are Australia and All That Jazz (amazing) and a truly heinous rip of The Trip (can't really tell if it's any good or not). Guess I oughtta hunt down this one Owl's hootin about, and I gotta hear these Lord of the Rings that you mention.

    "Lament For Thorin" is really something, man. Wow.

  4. When he was really nailing it, Sangster was pretty much the best of the Oz jazz guys of the seventies, in my opinion. The two Australia And All That Jazz records and Paradise are just awesome. (If you haven't heard the latter album, Aztec Records did a lovely CD reissue a couple of years ago).

    The Lord Of The Rings discs are quality stuff, but a little too trad jazz-y/samey for my tastes. Haven't given them a proper listen for ages though - I probably should give them another try.

  5. got the sangster on deck
    mail me here fer a discreet link:
    holywarbles (at) yahoo (dot) com
    would love to hear 'paradise' too

  6. Great dsicovery. Thank you very much!

  7. Just published the first of the Vinyl Connection hobbit pieces...

  8. I wish you would zip these into a folder. Mediafire is a huge pain in the butt about bulk-downloading single files.