Tag Archives: Doug De Vries


Asha Henfry and Al Parsons

Asha Henfry and Al Parsons perform with Panorama Do Brasil

REVIEW: SEXTETO ZONA SUL/PANORAMA DO BRASIL at Stonnington Jazz, 8pm 17 May 2014 at Chapel Off Chapel

Brazilian choro (pronounced shoro) and maxixi (mashishi) were new to me, so I was hoping that the music would be accompanied by some explanations of the musical forms. I was not disappointed. The Chapel Off Chapel space was packed to hear Doug de Vries as an engaging advocate for the intricate and rhythmically strong choro regionale that he explained was gaining ground in Melbourne as well as being popular across the world.

Sexteto Zona Sul

Sexteto Zona Sul plays Chapel Off Chapel

The line-up for Sexteto Zona Sul was Doug de Vries (mandolin, tenor guitar), Ken Murray (guitar), Adam May (cavaquinho), Asha Henfry (flute, alto flute), Corey King  (7-string guitar) and Al Kerr (pandeiro). The cavaquinho is a small stringed instrument with four wire or gut strings, similar perhaps to a ukulele. The pandeiro is a hand frame drum popular in Brazil. It can be tuned, and the rim holds metal jingles (platinelas) that are cupped, creating a crisper, drier and less sustained tone than on the tambourine.

The “sextet of the southern zone” treated us to choro sambas, maxixi — which de Vries said was an older form of choro that had a longer history of development than jazz — and tributes to Brazilian musicians, such as Yamanda Costa, who will be performing in Adelaide in July.

Al Kerr, Asha Henfry and Doug de Vries

Al Kerr, Asha Henfry and Doug de Vries in Sexteto Zona Sul

This was music requiring great skill from nimble-fingered players with impeccable timing and virtuosity. Sexteto Zona Sul delivered. Highlights of this set were the laid back choro piece Passatiempo (by Pixinguinha, I think), Moomba Maxixi (based on a dance so suggestive it was banned) featuring two cavanquinhos, Now Is the Time played in a quartet with flute and seven-string guitar and a mandolin and guitar duet for Samba pro Rapha (Yamandu Costa), a tribute to Raphael Rabello. And then there was my favourite for the set, a tribute to Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer by Mauricio Carrilho, in which all instruments stepped in and out, the varied-timbre strings combining beautifully with slow flute.

Sexteto Zona Sul is a talented ensemble and clearly one not to miss.

Next up was Panorama Do Brasil led by Al Kerr on drums and pandeiro, with Asha Henfry (flute, alto flute), Al Parsons (trombone), Matt Boden (piano) and Jorge Albuquerque (bass), plus special guest Doug de Vries (guitar).

Beforehand I’d read that Panorama do Brasil finds inspiration in Brazilian music with influences from the arid interior, the Amazonian basin, and the streets of Rio and Salvador.

Whereas in the first set I found myself marvelling at the finesse and dexterity of the players, in the second set I was grabbed and carried from the opening Canto Pra Oxum onwards. This music seemed to have a stronger vibe, with more propulsion and was, I think, more akin to the jazz with which I was familiar. Matt Boden’s piano contributed to this drive.

Alto flute vibrato, trombone and piano combined to great effect in the slow, drumless ballad Amparo, and sustained notes from flute and ‘bone complemented the playing of de Vries on guitar. Boden’s varied dynamics added a lot.

Doug de Vries

Doug de Vries steals the show as a guest with Panorama Do Brasil

Parsons’ trombone was a treat in Wardrobophone, and the duet (or duel) between de Vries on guitar and Kerr on pandeiro in Num Pagode Em and Plana Hina almost stole the set. Not quite. Doug de Vries did that in a solo during the Baden Powell-inspired Afro-Sambas suite — it was superb. Risco featured Boden in an expression-filled solo and ended with flute and trombone in beautiful accord. Capocira de Carlos had Parsons digging in deep and Kerr’s jazz tune 5am Hendrix on TV was a great way to wrap up the set.

The set ended about 11pm after starting soon after 8pm, with a relatively short interval. As I left for home I was thinking that we had enjoyed a whole lot of talent and a whole lot of music in that time.



Panorama Do Brasil

Doug de Vries

Stonnington Jazz


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.


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

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


Monique diMattina

Monique diMattina                (Image supplied)

CONCERTS PREVIEW: Monique diMattina performs two concerts in one day at Melbourne Recital Centre on Friday 29 November, at 1pm (solo piano) and 8pm (Songs and stomps from New Orleans)

It’s a busy time for Monique diMattina, who is just back from the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, where she co-presented Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller with long-time collaborators Clare Bowditch and Tommy Spender.

Before that she presented a set at the Cup Eve concert to wind up this year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.

Soon, diMattina will perform on Thursday, 12 December, as part of the Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club.

She has also just begun a fortnightly segment on Lindy Burns evening show on ABC radio’s 774 , writing a song in an hour based on listener requests.

Using this well-honed skill, diMattina will similarly write a song during the interval of her evening concert on Friday, 29 November at MRC, utilising the 30-minute break to write a new piece in response to audience requests in the first half. What a buzz.

But that’s jumping ahead. There will be two diMattina concerts for the day:

1pm in The Salon, MRC, Solo Piano

This lunchtime concert will feature piano miniatures from diMattina’s albums Senses and Sun Signs as she explores her quieter side.

8pm in The Salon, MRC: Songs & Stomps from New Orleans

Joined by an all-star band of jazz and roots musicians, including guitar virtuoso Doug de Vries and R&B sax legend, Paul Williamson, diMattina will dip into her critically acclaimed 2013 release Monique diMattina in New Orleans: Nola’s Ark, which was recorded in New Orleans, with musicians from the bands of Harry Connick Jr and Dr John.

The MRC bills this concert as follows: “The humour, wit and charm of Melbourne pianist/chanteuse Monique diMattina unfolds note by note in this rambunctious collection of songs from her fifth album Nola’s Ark. Following a sell-out debut at Stonnington Jazz, this is a not-to-be missed event that showcases the cream of the Melbourne jazz/roots scene – fusing contemporary themes with a good time New Orleans sensibility.”

Nola’s Ark draws inspiration from traditional jazz, blues and R&B.

For more on Monique, read SHAKEN AND A LITTLE BIT REHEARSED on Ausjazz.