Tag Archives: Colin Hopkins


Ren Walters, Steve Magnusson

Duelling guitars: Ren Walters and Steve Magnusson


Yes, it hasn’t happened yet, but there are already pictures circulating.

In a few hours, at 6.30pm on Saturday, October 6, 2012, Uptown Jazz Cafe will host a Lynch mob as guitarists Steve Magnusson and Ren Walters present a creative project which has been 12 months in the planning. With two musicians of such talent at work, the audience is guaranteed of twin peaks in this performance.

These fascinating and free guitarists will play acoustic guitars, with effects pedals, as selected images are screened of Eraserhead, David Lynch‘s seminal 1977 surrealist masterpiece. Uptown is the ideal venue for this adventurous outing.

Magnusson is ubiquitous these days. He played at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club on Thursday with Nick Haywood, Colin Hopkins and Allan Browne (it was a hoot), then joined Frank Di Sario and Dave Beck at Uptown on Friday night (sorry I missed this).

Cost: $15/10

And moving from the surreal to the sublime, Uptown follows at 9pm with the Paul Williamson Quartet, with this Williamson on trumpet, birthday boy Marc Hannaford on piano, Sam Pankhurst on double bass and Tony Floyd on drums (very sorry I can’t make this).

Cost: $15/10




1234 cover

3.5 stars (but it’s really a 3.8 or 3.9)

Bassist Nick Haywood leads this superb quartet from behind, with a clear commitment to collaboration and spontaneity.

The group is well chosen. Guitarist Stephen Magnusson’s spare interventions intersect artfully with Colin Hopkins’ dynamically rich piano contributions, and Allan Browne’s drumming is always apt.

As Haywood intended, simple tunes develop complexity in the hands of this quartet, with exquisite renditions of The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress and Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain sure to test anyone’s addiction to vocals.

From the dreamy Tahdon to the ebullient Round Trip, this outing is testament to what can be achieved by giving capable musicians a push and seeing where they take us.

Count 1234 as a success.

Download: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

File between: Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny


This review appeared also in the Play section of the Sunday Herald Sun newspaper, Melbourne, on November 20, 2011.

14 Little Creatures — Stephen Magnusson


(ABC Jazz/Universal)

LIKE bushwalking boots, album titles can come to fit perfectly over time. But the aptness of Magnusson’s collective name for these 14 solo guitar “little creatures” is immediately apparent. Released to play, they get up to all sorts of mischief, with delightful results.

Most pieces — 10 of them Magnusson compositions — are brief. His nylon-string guitar seems to have no limits: Cape Fear is a film score arranged for solo guitar, Black Hole Sun reworks a heavy rock Soundgarden song.

Bee is delicately reflective and, Magnusson writes, “depicts the fragility of our time here”. Streets of Forbes adds reverb in a thoughtful musing on the life of bushranger Ben Hall. Dark Havens is a brooding, intense, slow journey into the darkness Magnusson says he loves.

This quality solo contribution accompanies other recent fine albums by Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and Colin Hopkins (piano).

In short: Pull strings to catch these creature comforts