Tag Archives: Alex Boneham

SNEAKING OUT AFTER MIDNIGHT — MARK LOCKETT

CD REVIEW

Mark Lockett album

3.5 stars

Label: Rattle Jazz

Recorded in New York with Joel Frahm on sax and Orlando Le Fleming on bass, Melbourne drummer Mark Lockett’s fourth album features eight of his compositions.

Despite time as a student of flamboyant NYC drummer Ari Hoenig, Lockett does not push his work to the fore. This album showcases all members of the trio in lively and polished renditions of pieces that are at times complex, but never too heavy.

Lockett displays a deft, but restrained command of the kit, giving Frahm and Le Fleming plenty of space.

Compared with Now and Then, Lockett’s 2008 tribute to Ornette Coleman, this album may offer less intensity, but it delivers finesse in a well-balanced outing that also confirms the drummer’s credentials as composer.

Download: Loose Motion, Crew Cut

File between: Ornette Coleman, Bill Stewart

ROGER MITCHELL

During December 2012 Lockett will embark on a national tour to release Sneaking Out After Midnight, with concerts featuring Julien Wilson on sax and Alex Boneham on bass. In Sydney Jonathan Zwartz will be a special guest on bass, while in Perth Jamie Oehlers will feature on sax.

Lockett tour dates:

Tuesday, December 4: 505, 280 Cleveland St, Surry Hills, New South Wales, 8pm

Wednesday, December 5: The Loft, unit 2-3 151 Cowper St Dickson Canberra, 8pm

Thursday, December 6: La Niche, 67 Smith Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 7pm

Monday, December 10: The Wheatsheaf, 39 George St, Barton, SA 8pm

Wednesday, December 12: The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA, 8pm

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AWARD WINNERS CONFIRM THE JUDGES’ VERDICTS

REVIEW: STONNINGTON JAZZ 2012
Tim Firth Trio/James Muller Quartet, Chapel Off Chapel, May 22, 2012

Tim Firth Trio

Tim Firth Trio plays Chapel Off Chapel

This was a chance to catch two recent recipients of awards in two line-ups. Drummer Tim Firth won the 2012 National Jazz Awards competition in Wangaratta and Alex Boneham was recently chosen as Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year in the Jazz Bell Awards. Firth — who not so long ago had two months away from his drum kit after breaking his arm — and Boneham — who is becoming as ubiquitous as fellow bassist Sam Anning before he left for New York — certainly justified the judges’ decisions at Chapel Off Chapel.

Of course guitarist James Muller has a swag of awards, having shared the 2000 National Jazz Awards and the following year won two Mo awards for best jazz instrumentalist and best jazz group. His albums have won an ARIA award and an ARIA nomination, and he won an APRA award for most performed jazz work 2003, and also won the 2004 Freedman Fellowship for jazz.

On the night, I found Firth’s trio delivered a stronger and more interesting set.

Tim Firth Trio

Tim Firth Trio

The trio played original material that was texturally and rhythmically strong and always interesting. These pieces were not marked by alternating solos, but evolved and changed seamlessly. Two of pianist Steve Barry‘s compositions, Changes and Ambulation, opened proceedings, followed by a Firth piece entitled Sparse. The audience was hooked.

Alex Boneham

Alex Boneham

The next piece, Descending, began with a solemn, chordal feel that was quite beautiful, with a long, compelling solo from Barry. As it developed, there were surges and retreats as intensity and momentum developed. The tension dropped away towards the end, leaving quieter piano with minimal contributions from drums and bass.

Tim Firth

Tim Firth

There was more intensity and focus, along with some tempo variations, in the trio’s rendition of Wayne Shorter’s Pinocchio. Barry’s piece BW closed this engrossing set, with Barry’s expansive piano reminding me of John McAll.

Steve Barry

Steve Barry

In the second set the James Muller Quartet opened with the guitarist’s Rubbish, though it clearly wasn’t, followed the Sean Wayland piece Honeycombs, by which time the band had warmed up a bit and Firth indulged in a little crash and bash.

Mike Rivett & James Muller

Mike Rivett and James Muller

The highlight of this set for me was Muller’s interpretation of Gershwin’s ballad Embraceable You, which showed the depth and finesse the guitarist has at his fingertips as well the subtle nuances he can bring to make a standard his own. Muller’s Chick Corea featured some great solos on guitar, sax and bass.

Alex Boneham and Mike Rivett

Alex Boneham and Mike Rivett

The next piece, JB, was dedicated to drummer Simon Barker’s dad John. This was followed by Mode 6 and Anthrochromatology.

James Muller and Tim Firth

James Muller and Tim Firth

I had to leave the set early, which possibly means I can’t do it justice. But my only reservation, apart from a desire to sometimes hear Muller really let rip with a blazing solo (an odd thing given that I am not a huge fan of crash and bash drumming), is that the quartet pretty much kept to that solo by solo approach that is fair enough as a way to display virtuosity but does not necessarily make for cohesion and development in compositions. That is a minor reservation that could be applied to many bands.

This was a great night of solid jazz that really delivered. As mentioned, I thought the Tim Firth Trio had the most interesting material on the night. I really want to hear more of Steve Barry on piano.

ROGER MITCHELL

 

Mike Rivett, Alex Boneham and James Muller

Mike Rivett, Alex Boneham and James Muller

HEY, HEY IT’S YOUNG TALENT TIME

Ausjazz blog reviews the opening of Stonnington Jazz 2012

Sarah McKenzie

Alex Boneham and an attentive Sarah McKenzie at Stonnington Jazz opening night.

It was a perfect setting for deja vu. It was the opening night of Stonnington Jazz, the venue was Malvern Town Hall, patrons were seated nightclub-style at tables across the dimly, but beautifully lit auditorium, and festival director Adrian Jackson was at the microphone. Sarah McKenzie was soon seated at the piano. It could easily have been a year earlier when the young singer opened Stonnington Jazz for 2011. But somehow the deja vu never arrived. This was different.

Generations in Jazz Big Band

Generations in Jazz Big Band

The big difference, of course, was a big band — the Generations in Jazz Big Band composed of talented young musicians nurtured by the esteemed saxophonist Graeme Lyall at Mount Gambier in South Australia. This band made a substantial difference not only because of their excellent musicianship, but because they altered the dynamic. Right from the start McKenzie was not just the performer on piano and vocals with her quartet of Hugh Stuckey on guitar, Alex Boneham on bass and Craig Simon on drums. She was now McKenzie the arranger and composer and musical director of a band, albeit in close collusion with Lyall. And from the start of this gig McKenzie was alert and attentive to what the band was doing — doing very well indeed.

Sarah McKenzie

Sarah McKenzie

With quartet and band, McKenzie performed The Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix) and At Last (Gordon/Warren), before giving us two numbers with the quartet and vibes — her take on Big Yellow Taxi (Mitchell) and Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington). But the highlight of the first set gave us a chance to see McKenzie sans piano and sans vocals in the role of composer and band leader.

Sarah McKenzie conducts the Generations in Jazz Big Band

Sarah McKenzie conducts the Generations in Jazz Big Band

Two things made this number special for me. First, Song for Maria was McKenzie’s tribute to American arranger, composer and big band leader Maria Schneider, of whom I’m a huge fan. This composition really worked well and really blew away any cobwebs of deja vu — we were seeing and hearing a new dimension to McKenzie as composer. Second, McKenzie handed the piano keys to Shea Martin (I hope that name is correct), who did credit to her work in a considered and compelling performance.

Shea Martin with the Generations in Jazz Big Band

Shea Martin with the Generations in Jazz Big Band

Graeme Lyall appeared to lead the band as the second set opened with Look For the Silver Lining (Kern/DeSylva).

Generations in Jazz Big Band

Generations in Jazz Big Band

It was obvious that Lyall has these young players well rehearsed and responsive. But, hey hey, some antics were about to begin.

Generations in Jazz Big Band

Generations in Jazz Big Band

There was no sign of an ostrich, but who should suddenly pop up but the inimitable showman Daryl Somers, who is a patron of the Generations in Jazz Program. He put the audience through its paces with some singalong.

Daryl Somers

No ostrich: Daryl Somers pops in to Stonnington Jazz.

McKenzie returned with the quartet for her version (“I can’t play a standard in a standard way”) of Nat King Cole’s Too Young, followed by Don’t Tempt Me, an original and the title track from her first album. The second album, Close Your Eyes, will be released soon. It should be said that the work of Stuckey, Boneham and Simon was exemplary, and Stuckey’s contribution on guitar in particular was appreciated by the crowd.

Sarah McKenzie

Hitting her straps: Sarah McKenzie

It was about now that it seemed McKenzie really started to hit her straps. I had the feeling she was just getting into her stride. Saying that she always tried to “do one dangerous thing every day”, she again handed the piano to young Martin and took the mic to perform only vocals in Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies.

Shea Martin on piano at Stonnington Jazz.

Shea Martin on piano at Stonnington Jazz.

I loved the work of the band, the pianist and Boneham’s bass in this piece, and again it was excellent to see McKenzie being a little dangerous.

One dangerous thing: Sarah McKenzie without piano.

One dangerous thing: Sarah McKenzie without piano.

But the singer returned to the piano for her most powerful number all night, an original blues titled Living Room Blues. I think McKenzie really felt relaxed at this point and could have gone on. She seemed to be just warming up. But the night ended with her alone at the piano for the ballad I Should Care.

It was a great festival launch, but more importantly it was a chance for McKenzie — with a huge dollop of help from Graeme Lyall and the big band — to show her potential as an arranger and composer. And there is much hope for the future of Australian jazz with young musicians being given such a great start.

At the opening of Stonnington Jazz 2012, the deja vu that might have happened was never missed.

ROGER MITCHELL