Tag Archives: Allan Browne

A CELEBRATION OF ALLAN BROWNE

Allan Browne

Allan Browne at the drum kit.

PREVIEW

Allan Browne Memorial Concert, 8pm Friday, September 23, Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne.
A benefit concert for the family of Margie Lou Dyer and Allan Browne presented by the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative

When family, friends and fans of drummer Allan Browne mourned his loss and celebrated his rich life and considerable contribution to the  Melbourne jazz scene, I was overseas.

There was a huge outpouring of grief at his passing, culminating in a New Orleans-style street music procession that accompanied his hearse up Collins Street after his funeral.

I felt his loss from afar, remembering with deep appreciation the times when I had the opportunity to enjoy his company and his music.

I now deeply regret that I will be en route to Australia from Canada when a stellar line-up including Paul Grabowsky OAM, Barney McAll, Bob Sedergreen (Onaje), Andrea Keller, Tim Stevens, Julien Wilson, Brett Iggulden (The Red Onion Jazz Band) and Margie Lou Dyer takes to the stage at the Athenaeum Theatre for this memorial concert celebrating the musical life and legacy of Allan Browne, OAM — drummer/bandleader/composer and poet, who passed away, just short of his 71st birthday in June 2015.

 

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

 

This one-off concert will feature some of Melbourne’s finest contemporary musicians, almost all of whom performed with Al Browne over his long career. Between them the line-up of artists are the recipients of a six ARIAs, three National Jazz Awards, a Melbourne Music Prize, Don Banks Award and many “Bell” Australian Jazz Awards for album or artist of the year.

The list of pianists includes Paul Grabowsky, Barney McAll, Bob Sedergreen,
Tim Stevens and Andrea Keller, all of who recorded with Browne.

Saxophonist Julien Wilson, bassist Sam Anning and Barney McAll (all National Jazz Award and Australian Jazz Award recipients) performed on some of Al Browne’s last recordings will pay homage to these works.

Artists from many of Browne’s long-standing bands will perform, including the Allan Browne Quintet with Eugene Ball, Phil Noy, Geoff Hughes, Nick Haywood and emerging drummer Maddison Carter; and Onaje, one of Browne’s first ‘modern’ bands which features Richard Miller, Bob Sedergreen and Geoff Kluke. Other artists performing include Tamara Murphy, James McLean, Howard Cairns and Cam Robbins.

In the traditional jazz style, well-known trumpeter Brett Iggulden, OAM, from Browne’s first band, The Red Onion Jazz Band, will be guest artist with Virus, which features John Scurry – another Red Onion, Andy Ross and Lyn Wallis. Vocalist Shelley Scown will perform one of Grabowsky’s most beautiful compositions, Angel.

Browne’s widow, Margie Lou Dyer (daughter of late jazz great, ‘Wocka’ Dyer) will deliver some classic jazz and blues piano and vocals to conclude the performance in rousing New Orleans style.

Allan Browne

Allan Browne plays Uptown Jazz Cafe

Allan was a pivotal figure in Melbourne’s jazz scene, regarded by many as the personification of Melbourne jazz; a living repository for the history of jazz, possessed of an unquenchable creative spirit.  Conjuror, a collection of Browne’s poetry (including an accompanying CD) was co-released by extemporé and Jazzhead in 2012.

Profits from the concert will go Allan’s second wife, pianist Margie Lou Dyer, and five offspring who are all musical performers.

I urge everyone who can be there to come out and enjoy this wonderful opportunity to celebrate such a warm and wise man with the music that he loved.

Roger Mitchell

EVENT DETAILS:

Date:                          Friday, September 23

Time:                          8pm

Venue:                       The Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street Melbourne

Tickets:                      $40 / $30 concessions / $20 Student Rush at the Door

Bookings:                  Ticketek or phone bookings on 03 9650 1500

More information:    mjc.org.au

 

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

Allan Browne

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OF JAZZ HEROES AND HIGHLIGHTS

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter at Hamer Hall … surely one of the jazz heroes.

REVIEW / RAVE

Melbourne International Jazz Festival, June 3 to June 12, 2016

One of the most interesting conversations I’ve had during this jazz festival — and I’ve had a few, before and after attending 15 concerts — was about the jazz hero.

The person I spoke to was a musician who said he wanted to move away from that approach or model in bands in which he played. In this context I recalled a wonderful concert in Melbourne in which a band gradually swapped players while the music continued, morphing into a new group as newcomers quietly joined in and then others moved off stage during the set.

On the second night of this festival, June 4, I went to The Reverence Hotel in Footscray to hear 30/70 Collective make “future soul and hip-hop meet in the middle via jaunty boom bap”, to quote the program. As they say in some news programs, more on that story later.

After the first set by members of the collective who formed A Brother Scratch, the 30/70 Collective band members did something I have never seen before at a gig — they went into a huddle.

30/70 Collective

30/70 Collective in a huddle before performing.

Already feeling the warm glow from the first set of music that was out of my familiarity zone, so to speak, I was quite taken by this musical group hug, which seemed designed to engender team spirit. It was not long before the packed room was moving to the hypnotic grooves — myself included.

By now you’ll have realised this is more of a rave than a hard-nosed review. But there is a point. The musician mentioned who wants to move away from dependence on heroes in jazz described 30/70 Collective as being like a family. That certainly fitted with my impression from the vibes in the pub.

I decided to try applying the idea of avoiding heroes to the reviewing of a festival. Bear with me.

Reviewers often mention their list of standout gigs or highlights during a festival. I have often done that. And I’ve often asked other patrons and other reviewers to name the bands they’ve most enjoyed. It’s a natural thing, especially if there is limited space in a review, to pick the standouts.

But what if a festival review was more like a collective of gigs? Then I could value each for its special qualities — what worked well and even what didn’t. That’s how I feel about the mix of very different MIJF concerts that I went to this year.

Children of the Light Trio

Children of the Light Trio at Bennetts Lane

On night eight of the MIJF I went to Bennetts Lane at 10pm to hear Children of the Light Trio consisting of Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blade on drums — Wayne Shorter‘s band without the hero, if you like.

That’s laughable, you’ll say, because each member of this trio is a hero in their own right. True, but — and I’m already breaking with the “no highlights” approach — that band’s performance without Shorter that night was the gig I’d have to say has stayed with me and will do so for a long time to come.

On the final night of the festival I did hear Wayne Shorter with the members of this band. Afterwards I heard snippets of opinion, including comments that he did not play for a great portion of the set, that some say he’s too comfortable with Perez, Patitucci and Blade, and, notwithstanding, that this hero of jazz is on a different plane from any of the great players still alive.

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter plays Hamer Hall

Hearing Shorter at Hamer Hall was special. Getting relatively close to record some images was pretty special.

Hearing him in conversation with Jon Faine, Wilbur Wilde and Kristin Berardi on ABC radio 774 was also special — and at times hilarious. His refusal to get bogged down by labels and his wish to think so broadly about life made me wonder whether Wayne Shorter would want to be put on a pedestal.

I enjoyed his playing on this occasion a lot more than when I heard him some years ago at The Palais in St Kilda, which is perhaps a sign that I had then been uneducated in what to expect — frequent changes of direction and very short bursts of sax. This time he did not play for too long in the set, but what he contributed was considered and just right in the moment.

That said, after reflection, I took more away from his quartet members’ gig as a trio in the much smaller venue. Of course it would be far too exclusive to have Shorter perform to such a limited audience.

Anyway, my search for a hook or a story on which to hang reflections on this year’s Melbourne International Jazz Festival has ended — albeit in way too meandering a fashion — at that strong image of 30/70 Collective in a huddle. To that image I add some showing large ensembles featured at this festival at the ends of their concerts.

the migration

Stu Hunter and musicians after “the migration” at Malthouse Theatre.

We’ve seen some big projects come to fruition on stage this year — Stu Hunter‘s the migration, the Monash Art Ensemble‘s performance with Tomasz Stanko, the release of a new album by Peter Knight’s Way Out West.

Jordan Murray and Tomasz Stanko with Monash Art Ensemble

Jordan Murray and Tomasz Stanko with Monash Art Ensemble

All of these have involved a lot of work and huge collective effort.

Keyon Harrold with Twi-Life

Keyon Harrold with Twi-Life

And of course in smaller ensembles such as Andrea Keller’s Transients, the Allan Browne Quintet performing Ithaca Bound at Uptown Jazz Cafe, Keyon Harrold with Twi-Life, Shai Maestro Trio, the Tomasz Stanko Band and the Tribute to Allan Browne trio of Paul Grabowsky, Mirko Guerrini and Niko Schauble, we have heard the results of collective interaction.

Even in the solo gig by Paolo Angeli at the Bluestone Church in Footscray we saw how his instrument’s many parts worked together to produce different styles of music.

Interaction is what makes the diverse music that makes up jazz so engrossing, inventive and wonderful. And each musician brings to the stage the formative background that has shaped them — influences that interact and find expression in changing ways as they practise and play.

Some of us will love, like or not like some of the music we hear from improvising musicians, but at its core is that interaction. We see and delight in it as we watch the faces of the musicians at work.

End of rave. In the days ahead I will add a few, much shorter, separate posts — with pictures — to cover concerts I attended as part of this festival.

In the meantime, musicians will be playing live in lots of venues around Melbourne, so get out there. You won’t regret it.

ROGER MITCHELL

 

 

 

 

 

SOLACE IN AN EMPTY GARDEN

Andrea Keller at the launch of Travellers.

Andrea Keller at the launch of Travellers.

REVIEW:

CD launch of Travellers by Keller/Murphy/Browne as part of the Melbourne Women’s International Jazz festival, Monday 7 December, 8.30pm at Bennetts Lane.

Monday at Bennetts Lane was always Allan Browne‘s night — a chance to muse on life and enjoy the gentle humour and poetic insights of this inspiring occupant of the drum kit.

Pianist Andrea Keller and bassist Tamara Murphy began playing in a trio with Allan on Monday nights in 2003, so it was entirely apposite for their last album together to be set afloat on this night of the week and in this festival that they shared so often.

But that did not help ease a lingering sense of sadness at Allan’s absence as Keller and Murphy, with resplendent help from Eugene Ball on trumpet, opened with Days of Wine and Roses (a track from the trio’s 2006 Carried by the Sun album) and via Keller’s distinctive Queen For Tea into Browne’s Broncoscopy.

The latter was tightly delivered and lots of fun, with shimmering horn, heaps of energy and a robust bass solo, yet I could not shrug off the feeling that the humour and philosophy was missing, the poetry silenced.

Yet Allan was always in the minds of these three close friends and colleagues, Keller recalling that the ballad of great beauty she wrote from a fragment of melody by Czech guitarist / composer David Doruzka — eventually named A Glimpse of the Past — was most likely to have been played in the trio’s first gig with the drummer.

My first highlight of the night came next in Murphy’s ballad A Call, A Whisper, which was entrancing. Not for the first time, after that, I wondered how musicians can switch mood, or change track, so suddenly when they closed the set only moments later with Monk’s Hackensack. I was still deeply immersed in the whisper.

Poetry did return in the second set, but before that came my second highlight with Keller’s All the Colours Grey, which was sublime and gripping, and close behind it the new album’s title track — Murphy’s Travellers.

Then Miriam Zolin, close to Browne and to improvised music, who penned some wondrous words to accompany the album, stood in for the absent Al in reading a Beverley George poem, Empty Garden, while the trio played. It was moving and effective, helping to ease the loss and fill the gap. For a few moments it was as if Al Browne was there again.

Browne’s Cyclosporin followed, before Keller spoke of celebrating “what Al gave us and what he shared with us”. The set closed with a composition of Murphy’s that was played at every one of the trio’s gigs. Announcing Lullaby, Keller said simply, “This is for Allan.”

Vale Allan Browne.

ROGER MITCHELL