artwork by

Andrew Butt

Jazz in Meanjin 001: Live at Can You Keep A Secret?

The Scornful Four

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A band’s first gig only happens once.

So here you have it.

This recording results from the last-minute thought that such a moment should be captured. This set by newly formed The Scornful Four shows the very instant when an idea became a creation.

With a book full of COVID-era compositions that had yet to fall on any ears, saxophonist Andrew Garton convened a group of musical friends new and old to tackle the task of creating a setting to enrich what previously only existed in his imagination.

Meanjin jazz-royalty Helen Russell on bass (notably of the lauded 90s ensemble Good Bait), the wise-beyond-his-years journeyman drummer Aaron Jansz and young firebrand trumpeter Sharon Nobs all openly brought their dedication and ability to engage deeply with any music they perform and it shows in the freedom and nuance presented in this live recording.

'Butterfly House': Elvin Jones’ drumming inspired this piece, but it remained titleless until the piano-adjacent ramblings of a toddler by the name of JoJo blurted out “Butterfly House!” It seemed oddly appropriate.

'Glancing': The feeling is that of stealing a glance in the early stages of romantic engagement.

'A Rainy Morning': Dedicated to Tom Waits, and plucked from the ether after a sustained period of listening to his albums Alice and Blood Money. Not surprisingly, it was rainy AND the morning when this was composed.

'Birthday Goodbyes': Garton’s beloved great-Aunt Monica died the day before her 91st birthday. This song was written the day after she died.

'Swipe Left On Jazz': A friend advertised a gig on Tinder. “If you’d like to hook up, come to my gig. It costs $10.” No one came.


  1. Butterfly House [5:56]
  2. Glancing [7:59]
  3. A Rainy Morning [5:15]
  4. Birthday Goodbyes [4:40]
  5. Swipe Left on Jazz [7:46]

Total playing time: 39:17

Format: digital