Category Archives: WANGARATTA JAZZ 2009

Australia’s major festival of improvised music

WANGARATTA JAZZ 09 — THE VAMPIRES

Jeremy Rose on alto sax, Nick Garbett on trumpet, Alex Boneham on bass, Alex Masso on drums and special guest on percussion Fabian Hevia, in Memorial Hall

Maybe one day I will catch up and complete this post. My apologies

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WANGARATTA JAZZ 09 — BAND OF FIVE NAMES

Phil Slater on trumpet and laptop, Matt McMahon on piano, Nord, Carl Dewhurst on guitar, Simon Barker on drums, percussion, at Alpine MDF Theatre

A festival is about transitions, about moving between the worlds created by the musicians in each space at a particular time. What a contrast to leave Linda Oh’s trio — young players who took no prisoners, reveling in driving rhythms and complex patterns — and enter the light and shade, frenzy and reflection, and at times absolute simplicity of this ensemble’s creations. Band of Five Names was affective, slowly evolving, highly involving. I thought at the time, “How can a Nord sound so gentle?” and “Stillness can take root here”.

Pics to come soon

WANGARATTA JAZZ 09 — LINDA OH TRIO

Saturday performance in Memorial Hall: Linda Oh on acoustic bass, Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Tommy Crane (of Be An Astronaut) on drums

This was first chance to hear the exciting New York trio of Manhattan School of Music graduates that released debut album Entry in 2009, albeit with Crane sitting in for drummer Obed Calvaire on this visit. In my review of the festival I wrote that on Saturday “Oh seemed competent, but tense in the trio”. It may have been completely wrong, but I thought perhaps Oh was preoccupied with her first appearance with Charles Tolliver, to come 10.30pm that night. The young, expatriate bassist had a lot on her plate, but she remained cool.

Opening, logically, with Numero Uno, they played tracks from the album — Fourth Limb, A Year From Now, Gunners, 201, Soul to Squeeze — as well as one new piece, the powerful To Not Be Broken. It was not warm music — it had emotion, but was not heart-warming, if that makes any sense. Akinmusire’s playing in To Not Be Broken was breathy and like dark chocolate icing: splendid, but not too sweet. He showed great command of the horn, producing light sensitivity, strength and lament as required. Oh’s bass in this outing seemed technically brilliant, but businesslike. But Sunday’s concert was to be a different story.

pics to come soon