Barney McAll with his hand-painted albums at Wangaratta Jazz 2013
On loan from New York City, pianist and composer Barney McAll has two gigs in Melbourne before his return to the US. At Bennetts Lane Jazz Club at 9pm tonight (November 13, 2013) he will be in his Non-Compliance Trio with Jonathan Zwartz on bass and Hamish Stuart on drums.
I’ll be working ’til midnight, but luckily I heard the trio at the recent Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival. I also have one of Barney’s hand-painted albums that he promises to have available at tonight’s gig.
Barney McAll performs solo in Wangaratta’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in 2013.
Tomorrow night (Thursday, November 14) at 9pm, also at Bennetts Lane, he will give a solo performance of new music from his piano recording Every Piano Should Have A House In It.
Both these outings are a chance to catch the McAll magic before Barney disappears again to Obamacare country.
By A Thread
GIG: Holy Trinity Cathedral, noon, Sat. October 29, 2010
Paul Williamson trumpet, Geoff Hughes guitar, James McLean drums
IN June 2009 at New Box Studios this trio brought out the eponymous album By A Thread on the Downstream label, which aims to get bums on seats at live music performances by extending the reach of the music. The cathedral at Wangaratta was well suited to By A Thread’s ethereal, soulful music. It was moving to hear Paul Williamson’s lyrical trumpet notes (the other PW is a saxophonist) soaring heavenwards into the hallowed heights of this magnificent space.
Lyrical beauty: Paul Williamson
I felt that this concert could easily be called worship. Hughes and Williamson created dreamy, introspective music that was both reverent and a reverie. McLean’s drums were muted, his sound somehow flattened out or damped down behind the other instruments. At one stage his playing seemed like pebbles rolling about gently in the tray of a tip truck. Then came rattles and the sound of sticks on metal.
By A Thread took the cathedral audience on a journey that could have taken listeners deep within or off into flights of fancy. I could not stay for the whole set, but the time I spent was deeply valued.
Worship: Geoff Hughes and Paul Williamson
CD cover to come
THE origin — tunes by Thomas Tallis for eight psalms, and an ordinal hymn — is classical, but the journey instigated by Andrew Robson ventures into jazz.
An ideal setting in which to hear Robson (alto and soprano sax), Sandy Evans (tenor and soprano sax), James Greening (trombone, pocket trumpet) and Steve Elphick (double bass) interpret Tallis would surely be Holy Trinity Cathedral during Wangaratta Festival of Jazz. We can only hope.
Robson’s arrangements successfully retain “the integrity and character” of the originals, while allowing improvisation.
Andrew Ford, in the CD notes, calls it a “collaboration across half a millennium”. The players explore — in a way frowned on in Tallis’s time — independent, but harmonically related, pathways.
They move beyond homage with sublime melodic interplay, slow and soaring majesty, aching lament, moving unison and, at times, glorious freedom.
Review by ROGER MITCHELL