Tag Archives: Alex Pertout

IN SUPPORT OF SUPPORT ACTS

Johnny Tedesco

Johnny Tedesco and Chris Hale perform Sylvan Coda

REFLECTION:

Christopher Hale’s Sylvan Coda opens for Jorge Pardo “Huellas” at Melbourne Recital Centre, Saturday 31 May at 7.30pm

Here and Now opens for Larry Carlton Quartet at Melbourne Recital Centre, Wednesday 4 June at 7.30pm

In any international festival the established practice is for the visiting performers, as the main drawcards, to be on stage for much longer and to be preceded by support bands from Australia. This is a good way for our home-grown musicians to share in the festival limelight and potentially gain a following from the larger audiences who appear out of the woodwork.

I am always disappointed to notice how many seats that are vacant during the opening set and yet are filled when the main performers come on stage. It is a pity not only because it shows disrespect for Australian musicians, but also because the patrons who arrive late are likely to miss hearing some very talented and inventive artists.

The opening sets at MRC this year seem to be way too short. I have not heard any complaints from our “local” musicians — possibly they are glad to have even such limited exposure in such a large festival — but the balance does seem to have swung too much towards the main acts on the bill.

In the case of Christopher Hale’s Sylvan Coda, which opened for Jorge Pardo‘s flamenco jazz, what the audience heard and saw was a tiny taste or fragment of the original suite. I’m sure Johnny Tedesco‘s fantastic flamenco footwork was a highlight for many in the audience — I was struck by how his feet called to mind the fluttering of butterfly wings and the feather-light, incredibly rapid work by some drummers I’ve heard — but it would have been impossible to convey the way in which the original suite changed and developed.

Anyone who liked the snippet provided in this opener should watch for another performance of the full Sylvan Coda.

Sylvan Coda

Johnny Tedesco, Chris Hale, Nathan Slater and Ben Vanderwal in Sylvan Coda at Melbourne Recital Centre

Sylvan Coda

Jacq Gawler, Hannah Cameron, Gian Slater and Julian Banks

Chris Hale

Chris Hale

The other short opening set deserving special mention at MRC so far this year was the performance by Here and Now before the Larry Carlton Quartet.

I left a little early from Carlton’s set — to get to another festival gig and also because the music being played did not excite me. But a clear standout for me was the work of Andrea Keller on piano, Nilusha Dassenaike on vocals, Alex Pertout on percussion, Evripides Evripidou on bass and David Jones on drums.

I should confess that on this rainy evening I was tempted to arrive at 8.15pm to catch the main act, but decided I should respect the artists performing first. I am so glad I did.

Although this set was short, I felt that it took us to quite a special place. Each member of the ensemble contributed significantly, but Evripidou on bass was inventive and I found Keller’s solo, without needing to be loud, filling the auditorium as well as my being. I believed it would be one of the best piano solos of the festival. Her notes seemed to be drawing the audience into a state of total absorption. Dassenaike’s voice was integral to this meditative set.

Here and Now plays Melbourne Recital Centre

Here and Now plays Melbourne Recital Centre

Andrea Keller

Andrea Keller

Alex Pertout, Nilusha Dassenaike and Evripides Evripidou

Alex Pertout, Nilusha Dassenaike and Evripides Evripidou

Here and Now musicians take a bow.

Here and Now musicians take a bow.

I’d like to see opening acts given a fairer allocation of time in future festivals. But one thing is certain — it is never wise to come late and miss out on what comes first. It could well be what you appreciate most.

ROGER MITCHELL

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ANOTHER PLACE, SOME OTHER TIME — JOE CHINDAMO

CD REVIEW

Chindamo album

IT would be handy to have some free time after hearing Joe Chindamo‘s album of Coen Brothers film music, because it will almost certainly have you revisiting the films. But the absence of a moving image is no obstacle, freeing Chindamo’s arrangements from expansive requirements of the big screen.

The Fargo theme, on solo piano, suggests so much — the dead quiet of snow, sadness, beauty, emptiness and inevitability. The Miller’s Crossing theme — on piano, Doug De Vries‘s guitar and Nigel MacLean‘s violin — adds definition, clarity and emotion to the original.

Lujon (The Big Lebowski) — with Chindamo also on accordion, and adding Lucky Oceans on pedal steel, Philip Rex on bass, Rajiv Jayaweera on drums and Alex Pertout on percussion — is enhanced by fragility.

What a pleasure it is to hear the wonderfully jaunty, rollicking and deft bluegrass of the Raising Arizona theme, or the slow interpretation of You Are My Sunshine (O Brother, Where Art Thou) combining the resonance of pedal steel with the reverence of accordion.

With Oceans on dobro, Hotel California develops some gentle swing, but for a real swinging number wait for the lightly crafted Man of Constant Sorrow to take off and run.

Chindamo’s ensemble takes us to another delightful place for some considerable time.

File between: Ry Cooder, Paul Grabowsky.
Download: Miller’s Crossing.

ROGER MITCHELL

Review also published in Sunday Herald Sun on June 13, 2010

STONNINGTON JAZZ 2010 — DAY 9

ZAC HURREN TRIO at Chapel Off Chapel

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren, Anning and Bates

It would have been a great way to end a festival, but on Friday night there was still one night to go. I chose to break the rule about not switching gigs midstream. Usually it’s hard to acclimatise to a change of venue and leaving in a rush to catch another band can be a big mistake. This time it worked out. But it left me with a burning question: How could Sam Anning have played bass with Zac Hurren (saxophone) and Sam Bates (drums) at the Chapel, and then dash to Malvern Town Hall for a complete change of mood, playing with Joe Chindamo‘s ensemble? I’d have liked to ask him what went on inside his head as he moved from one gig to the next.

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren, Anning and Bates

Anyway, I have no time to beat about the bush, so this is the gist of it: Zac and the two Sams were faaannnnntastic! Absolutely on fire. Brilliant. Hurren said he usually stands by the trees and plays by himself, and that was how he wanted to start. It was a short warm-up solo and then the trio was off and running.

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren and Anning

What was so good about it? It’s still in my head, but I’m not sure I can easily explain. It was cathartic. It was a physical experience. But I don’t want to give the idea that Hurren just blasted away and filled the Chapel with noise, or that Bates smashed and crashed on the drums, or that Anning drove his bass notes remorselessly through the audience. There was an element of that, but all three displayed much more sensitivity than that. They played as a unit and were totally cohesive. The result was primal and managed to penetrate deep into the body and into the soul. Bates displayed great finesse and sensitivity, Hurren and Anning were a tangible force brimming with emotion.

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren, Anning and Bates

They played Hurren’s compositions Joffra, Conveyance (written the night before the funeral of saxophonist and teacher Tony Hobbs ), a newish track the name of which I did not catch, and Mark’s Mansion (written to represent saxophonist Mark Simmonds‘s defence of jazz against the forces of evil). They wanted to play more, but had to stop. I wanted more but had to go. And of course Sam Anning had to slip into the Stonnington stretch limo and wind down for a few minutes before joining Joe Chindamo on stage for the second set at Malvern Town Hall.

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren, Anning and Bates

A quick note: The gigs I missed — Ted Vining‘s Impressions and Tina Harrod — deserve mention, but I could not make it. And I’d heard Tina Harrod at Bennetts Lane recently. She was great there, so I’m sure her set was enjoyed by all. On to the town hall …

JOE CHINDAMO’S COEN BROTHERS PROJECT
at Malvern Town Hall

 Chindamo
Joe Chindamo

I can’t do this concert justice either, but a few sentences for now. It was the inaugural performance of the Coen Brothers material, and an album launch for Another Place, Some Other Time. Chindamo has assembled Lucky Oceans on pedal steel guitar, Geoff Hughes on guitars, Kristian Winther on violin, Sam Anning (again) on (yes) acoustic bass, Raj Jayaweera buried behind on drums and Alex Pertout also in the back on percussion.

 Winther
Kristian Winther

 Geoff Hughes
Geoff Hughes

Winther was exquisite on violin, Oceans added something special on pedal steel and Hughes was, as always, most expressive. Chindamo’s piano has the presence and sense of space, as well as a classical feel, to capture and hold us in a moment (or many) of beauty.

 Chindamo, Oceans
Joe Chindamo and Lucky Oceans

 Lucky Oceans
Lucky Oceans

In the seconds before I fall into a coma from lack of sleep, the standouts for me were the theme from Fargo (as interpreted by Chindamo, of course), Man of Constant Sorrow (from O’ Brother Where Art Thou?), Lujon from The Big Lebowski, and the theme from Miller’s Crossing. Later, You Are My Sunshine was divine, with Chindamo on accordion and Oceans on pedal steel. Earlier Oceans played slide guitar on Hotel California (The Big Lebowski), but you had to wait for the familiar melody to drift through.

 Winther
Kristian Winther

After the theme from Blood Simple, Joe played a solo piano encore, Goodnight Sweetheart (I should have known, but had to be told).

 Anning, Winther
Sam Anning and Kristian Winther

It was not my favourite Stonnington venue, but this was a beautiful concert and a fitting tribute to films in which music plays a big part. Chindamo’s take on the Coen Brothers’ film music was entrancing. There was no need for any moving images.