Tag Archives: David Rex

CHANTAL FIRES A CANNONBALL INTO A TOUGH CROWD

Chantal Mitvalsky

Chantal Mitvalsky and Darrin Archer in Cannonball

REVIEW: David Rex Quartet / Cannonball, Chapel Off Chapel, Tuesday 20 May, 8pm for Stonnington Jazz

Vocalist, DJ and PBS broadcaster Chelsea Wilson introduced this two-set gig with lively enthusiasm, and there was every reason to look forward to what was in store from the brothers Rex. Alto saxophonist David, described by expatriate New York pianist composer Barney McAll as “the finest alto saxophonist in Australia today” was joining his sibling, acoustic bass powerhouse Philip. David Allardice was at the piano and Sam Bates was sitting in on drums in the absence of Danny Farrugia.

David Rex

David Rex plays Stonnington Jazz

The quartet played eight pieces, opening with John Coltrane’s Straight Street and closing with the catchy, upbeat Mr Hyde, in which we heard Allardice thoroughly warmed up on the keyboard, an absolute ripper of a bass solo and a strong alto solo to finish.

There was a lot to like in the set — the highlights for me were Philip Rex‘s solos — but either the audience was unresponsive or some interplay was missing between the players, because the vibe did not seem to be there on the night. We heard some super smooth, dreamy sax in David Rex‘s ballad Shades of Colour and some slightly bent alto notes in the classic Body and Soul (“a quick ballad to show how slow we can play”), plus tougher and faster bop in Slap It. But Hammond Song seemed to lack a real buzz and in general the quartet seemed to be finding it hard to fire up the small crowd.

Philip Rex

Philip Rex

I felt that a pianist such as John McAll may have added the pizzazz and flamboyance to arouse the audience on the night. Yet there was no denying the individual talents of the Rex boys on alto sax and double bass.

Tom Lee on bass and David Wilson on alto sax

Tom Lee on bass and David Wilson on alto sax

The second set brought on another alto saxophonist, Tim Wilson, who formed Cannonball to explore the joyous, soulful, grooving music of the great Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley. He was joined by Paul Williamson (trumpet), Darrin Archer (piano), Tom Lee (bass), Sam Bates (drums) and Chantal Mitvalsky (vocals).

To be honest, I was hoping to hear this band play pieces such as One for Daddy-O; Sack O’ Woe; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; Limehouse Blues or Walk Tall, but I had to be content with Work Song among my Adderley favourites.

Chantal Mitvalsky

Chantal Mitvalsky

That said, we were treated to a great trip down memory lane, beginning with the bright opening track The Chant, featuring top solos by Wilson and Williamson. We were not long without vocals and as soon as Mitvalsky came on for Ten Years of Tears — which included great bass work by Lee — the songstress became the focal point of the band. I think it was a tough audience, but Mitvalsky gradually roused them and won them over with the power of her personality and vocal range.

David Williamson

David Williamson

A restrained Williamson solo in If You Never Fall in Love With Me was a treat, as was Wilson’s alto in the bluesey Since I Fell For You, in which Mitvalsky’s vocals were expressive and powerful. In Work Song her forceful vocals carried conviction.The trumpet was another highlight in this piece.

Chantal Mitvalsky

Chantal Mitvalsky

Cannonball delivered the goods and no doubt reminded some in the audience of the Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley association. As a lover of the instrumental Adderley, I had to quell a wish to hear more of the band unadorned, but that’s a personal preference. I reckon Mitvalsky’s presence made the night for many at Chapel Off Chapel.

ROGER MITCHELL

Stonnington Jazz 

Tim Wilson

David Rex

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THE AGE OF ENTITLEMENT IS BACK

Mingus Amongst Us

Mingus Amongst Us at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in July 2013

PREVIEW: Stonnington Jazz, 15-25 May 2014

Joe Hockey says the age of entitlement is over, but he is wrong. Over the next few weeks there will be no deficit of live improvised music in Melbourne and that is only fitting. As promises are broken and voters wake up to exactly what terrible things they initiated by voting to stop the boats, we are entitled to seek comfort in music.

The winter season of jazz festivals is almost upon us and, in the absence of a jazz fringe festival this year, Stonnington Jazz — which last year was judged Best Cultural, Arts or Music Event in Victoria at the Australian Event Awards — is first up.

If you’ve never been before, this showcase of 100 per cent Australian jazz (often including expat artists now living abroad) has two main venues, Malvern Town Hall and Chapel Off Chapel, plus a bunch of other bars and restaurants in the city. At the opening night, the town hall is tastefully decked out and guests can watch it all unfold while seated at tables and enjoying drinks and snacks from the bar at the rear.

This year opening night on Thursday, May 15 will feature New York-based expatriate vocalist Chris McNulty — winner of the Bell Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album of 2013 — and singer, songwriter and pianist Sarah McKenzie, also now living in New York, who won the 2012 ARIA Award for her album Close Your Eyes.

Stonnington Jazz this year will feature two concerts celebrating family connections in music. Popular multi-instrumentalist James Morrison will perform with his sons William and Harry in the James Morrison Inheritance on May 22 at Malvern Town Hall. And clarinet player Denis Ball will perform with his son, trumpeter Eugene, in a sextet at Chapel off Chapel at 2pm on May 18.

Other drawcards will be much-loved vocalist Vince Jones performing with Monash University Jazz, an ensemble comprising students that features Rob Burke on sax and Paul Grabowsky on piano.

Dance lovers will be energised by The Melbourne Rhythm Project, which brings together The New Sheiks and dancers led by Ramona Staffield.

And for something completely different, pianist-singer-composer Martin Martini will presents his suite ‘Vienna 1913’ which draws inspiration from the art and lives of the major modernists of the time, such as Schiele, Klimpt, Koskoschka and Hoffmann.

Lovers of traditional jazz will be given an opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Syncopators in a special concert at Malvern Town Hall.

That’s pretty much where the press release information finishes, although it does also mention that festival patron Allan Browne will be plying his drums with Sydney saxophonist Phil Noy and bassist Tamara Murphy at COC on May 22. It’s one of my predicted highlights, which this year are almost entirely chosen from the line-ups at Chapel Off Chapel — a real favourite place of mine to hear live music because it’s possible to get up close and personal with the music.

So here are my recommendations, for what they’re worth:

Saturday 17 May, COC, 8pm, Sexteto Zona Sul/Panorama Do Brazil
Doug de Vries, on guitar, will feature in both sets of this night of Brazilian-influenced jazz.

Sunday 18 May, COC, 2pm Sugarfoot Ramblers/Denis Ball & Eugene Ball
Tap your foot to 20 musicians in the first set, then enjoy the chance to hear father and son in a superb sextet.

Monday 19 May, COC, 8pm Mingus Amongst Us
This celebration of the blues and gospel-influenced compositions of Charles Mingus will enthral and excite. Don’t miss it.

David Rex

David Rex

Tuesday 20 May, COC, 8pm David Rex Quartet/Cannonball
Check out the power of the Rex brothers then enjoy a sack o’ woe from Cannonball Adderley, as interpreted by Tim Wilson and friends.

Joe O'Connor

Joe O’Connor at the National Jazz Awards, Wangaratta

Thursday 22 May, COC, 8pm Joseph O’Connor Trio/Browne Noy Murphy
Check out the compositions of young National Jazz Awards winner O’Connor on piano, then be prepared for whimsical humour and great expression from Al Browne, Phil Noy on reeds and Tamara Murphy on double bass.

Mirko Guerrini

Mirko Guerrini performs in Acquacheta at Wangaratta Jazz Festival

Friday 23 May, COC, 8pm Acquacheta/Grabowsky Sanzone: The Italian Project
Saxophonist Mirko Guerrini’s project with guitarist Stephen Magnusson was a hit at Wangaratta last year, and whatever Grabowsky and Sydney vocalist Virna Sanzone create will be worth hearing.

Saturday 24 May, COC, 8pm Chantal Mitvalsky/Paul Williamson Hammond Jazz Party
Always a hoot to enjoy the warm, wonderful vibe of this party sporting a Hammond B3.

Saturday 24 May, MTH, 8pm The Syncopators 30th Anniversary
Expect this to be packed.

Sunday 25 May, COC, 8pm Marinucci Grant Quintet/Alan Lee Quartet Reunion
Great line-up for the first set with Gianni Marinucci (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Steve Grant (cornet), Tony Gould (piano), Frank Di Sario (bass) and Danny Farrugia (drums). And then Alan Lee will reunite with old friends Gould, Derek Capewell (bass) and Ted Vining (drums).

There are many more concerts to enjoy, including Bob Sedergreen and friends in a set after the Stonnington Youth Jazz Initiative on May 21.

Think about it. Promises are being broken. Taxes are being raised. Retirements are being delayed. Renewable energy is being wound down. Global warming is being ignored. The ABC is being cut. The workforce is being casualised.

My suggestion is to get out now and enjoy live music before the end of the world as we know it eventuates.

ROGER MITCHELL

TO BOOK TICKETS: Phone 82907000 or go to www.chapeloffchapel.com.au

For full program information go to: www.stonningtonjazz.com.au

OUR BEST BIDS TO HELP BERNIE

Bernie McGann

Bernie McGann

GIG: Benefit concert for Bernie McGann, 6.30pm to 9.30pm, Sunday, September 1, 2013, Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, organised by Melbourne Jazz Co-operative

This post is intended to help pass on details already being publicised by the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative, about a benefit concert for revered saxophonist Bernie McGann, who is recovering from illness in Sydney and needs our support. The gig is being held at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club on September 1 in conjunction with a silent auction. The word is that a similar benefit concert in Sydney recently raised about $11,000, so Melbourne has a job ahead if we are to hold out heads high.

BIDDING FOR THE SILENT AUCTION IS NOW LIVE

Bidding is now open for Prizes donated for the Silent Auction in the Bernie McGann Benefit.

Bidding in the silent auction being held in conunction with the Bernie McGann Benefit Concert in Melbourne is now open. To make an online bid, send an email to the MJC at melbournejazzcooperative@gmail.com with the subject “McGann Silent Auction” and your full name, the item number and your bid in the body of the email. Live bids can also be made at the event on Sunday night until 9:30pm. Winners will be notified at the close of the event (if at the venue) and via email on the evening of September 2nd.

ITEM 1:
Melbourne Jazz Festival’s Golden Pass (value $1,000),
– 2 tickets to the Gala Opening
– 2 tickets to a Modern Masters of Jazz
– 2 tickers to a Explorations in Jazz show
– 2 tickets to a Club Session
– Priority entry into The Cave (MIJF late night program)
– Reserved seating at the MIJF Masterclass Series
– Reserved seating at the MIJF In Conversation Series

The value of this Golden Pass is worth over $1,000 in tickets and services.
The shows chosen in the above pass will be up to the discretion of MIJF

ITEM 2:
Day’s Recording Session at Pughouse Studios, Northcote (value $600)

ITEM 3:
Gold Pass for this year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues (value $350)
The Gold Pass provides entry to all venues from Friday to Monday night PLUS: VIP seating at all WPAC shows, the Festival Launch Cocktail Party at the Gateway on Friday evening and the Cup Eve Concert on the Monday night.

ITEM 4:
Bundle of 10 McGann albums on Rufus Records, including Ugly Beauty, McGann McGann, Bundeena, Live at Side On, Playground, Kindred Spirits, Wending, Double Dutch, Solar, Blues for Pablo Too (value $250)

ITEM 5:
5 CD albums on JazzHead, including Andrea Keller Quartet and Sam Keever Nonet albums featuring McGann (value $130)

ITEM 6:
5 CD albums by Julian Wilson’s groups: Assumptions2, Departures by Assumptions, Festa, Trio-Live,
Kaleidoscopic (value $125)

ITEM 7:
Australian Jazz Real Book, edited by Dr. Tim Nikolsky (value $100)

ITEM 8:
Three framed photographs of Bernie McGann by Roger Mitchell (value $150 each)

ITEM 9:
Gold Pass for the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative’s 2014 season (value $75)

ITEM 10:
3 CD albums by Niko Schauble: Tibetan Dixie, Night Music, Red Earth/White Snow (value $75)

ITEM 11:
2 Victorian Jazz Archive albums of the JazzArt recordings: The Progressives 2 & 3 (value $50)

ITEM 12:
Stephen Magnusson’s Bell-winning “Magnet” LP (value $30)

Both Rufus Records (Bernie’s main label) and JazzHead will be selling stock on the night, with a good percentage of profits going to Bernie.

Copies of all 10 McGann albums on Rufus Records (including Ugly Beauty, McGann McGann, Bundeena, Live at Side On, Playground, Kindred Spirits, Wending, Double Dutch, Solar, Blues for Pablo Too) will be on sale at the special price of $20 each at the Benefit.

Additional copies of the Australian Jazz Real Book will also be sold for $100 each), as well as some other CDs and LPs by local artists.

BERNIE MCGANN BENEFIT LINE-UP

 The line-up  for the Jazz Lab gig ($20 & $15 concession) now includes Paul Grabowsky (solo piano), Italian saxophonist Mirko Guerrini, and Wilbur Wilde.

They will join an impressive line-up of leading Melbourne jazz artists (plus Perth’s Jamie Oehlers) with the confirmed artists including Julien Wilson, Allan Browne, Ian Chaplin, David Rex, Ken Schroder, Jex Saarelaht Trio, Bopstretch, Phil Noy, Philip Rex, Niko Schauble, and Sam Bates, among others.

Allan Browne (drums), Phil Rex (bass) and Phil Noy (alto sax) will open the concert by playing some of Bernie’s tunes (as will Julien Wilson and Boplicity).

ROGER MITCHELL

(using information provided by Melbourne Jazz Co-operative)