Acoustic bass guitarist Christopher Hale, who won the Freedman Jazz Fellowship in 2012, performs for the MJC tonight with his award-winning project, Sylvan Coda.
This ensemble has also released a self-titled album, which is Hale’s first project since the untimely death of his colleague, pianist Will Poskitt in late 2008.
The MJC describes the project as a return to some of his early influences, with music that crosses the boundaries between jazz, flamenco and classical music. The ensemble will feature Gian Slater, Jacq Gawler, Emma Gilmartin (voice & percussion), Julian Banks (tenor sax), Nathan Slater (guitar), Johnny Tedesco (percussion & dance), Javier Fredes (percussion), and guest Danny Fischer (drums).
The album features Ben Vanderwal on drums, Denis Close on snare drums, caxixis (small basket filled with seeds) and repinique (Brazilian drum), Richard Tedesco on frame drums and palmas (hand percussion) and Lachlan Carrick on effects and textural percussion.
The following biographical material on William Poskitt was published before a tribute concert at the Kitten Club in Little Collins Street, Melbourne a year after his death:
“William Poskitt was born in York, England, and began playing at four years of age. After being accepted into the Victorian College of the Arts Melbourne for both repertoire and improvisation course auditions, he undertook the improvisation course which he completed with honours in 2000.
“While a student at the VCA he received a host of awards for his academic and performance skills, including the Memorial Mensa Award, giving him an honorary place in Mensa. Poskitt completed his Masters in 2005 and became a member of the sessional teaching staff in 2008.
“He passed away on 8 November 2008 at the age of 31. Working alongside some of Australia’s leading artists, his contribution to the music industry has left a lasting impression. Although his passing was a sudden shock, his gift to the world was his music and his music will live forever.”
Which Way Music, which has released the album Sylvan Coda, provided the following background:
An unconventional, freethinking proponent of the acoustic bass guitar, Christopher Hale is “a remarkably talented and versatile young bassist [and] an enormously gifted composer and arranger” (The Age). After a long creative hiatus following the passing of his closest friend and musical collaborator, Will Poskitt, Hale returns with a new album, a powerful and poignant love letter to his dear friend.
Sylvan Coda reaches deep into Hale’s formative years of immersion in Flamenco and Afro-Cuban music, and emerges as an album of poise and originality.
Featuring a 10-piece band of guitars, voices and percussion and produced with Lachlan Carrick (Gotye, Lior, The Drones) Sylvan Coda is an epic, widescreen vision: Cuban religious drums, Gian Slater’s angelic vocals, Flamenco brio and deep, insistent rock, saturated with technicolor emotion and hard-earned, heartbroken optimism.
The blood that flows through Sylvan Coda, Christopher Hale’s long awaited new album, is saturated with memories. For over 10 years, Hale led the celebrated Christopher Hale Ensemble with two long-time friends and colleagues: cellist Will Martina and the remarkable pianist Will Poskitt. Over three albums and numerous international tours, the Ensemble created a unique brand of improvising chamber music, which introduced the young musicians to the international stage and earned them a reputation as ‘one of Australia’s hottest groups’ (Musica Viva) for their ‘intimate, intricate and finely balanced music . . . which demonstrates how successfully this group blurs the line between chamber music and jazz’ (All About Jazz New York).
Australian Jazz.net preview of the CD release in August 2012
Broadway Music World preview to the launch of Sylvan Coda.