Tag Archives: Javier Fredes

AUDIENCE APPLAUSE A FITTING CODA

Sylvan Coda

Vocalists Jacq Gawler, Emma Gilmartin and Gian Slater, with Julian Banks, perform with Sylvan Coda at Bennetts Lane.

REVIEW: Christopher Hale’s Sylvan Coda, presented by the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, 9 pm Tuesday 12 February 2013

This was a fantastic gig — one that will long sustain those who were there to hear it and cause those who missed out to wish they had managed to make it. Sylvan Coda live demonstrated the power of performers who are right there so close you can almost touch them and who create electricity so tangible you can almost feel the audience glowing.

I could not help recalling Carlos Saura’s film Flamenco, which has no story other than dance, yet is absolutely compelling from start to finish.

I also must own up to a conversion of sorts. The inventive choral work of Gian Slater with Invenio has not always grabbed me, if only because the wordless repetition — while exquisitely rendered — has seemed at times not to allow the singers to take the audience on enough of a journey. Clear exceptions to this are Slater’s 2010 APRA Commission work Gone Without Saying, and her late 2012 outing at Northcote Town Hall entitled Self/Echo and Clarion/Whisper, both of which were superb. But when Slater’s voice joined those of Emma Gilmartin and Jacq Gawler (Coco’s Lunch) for Sylvan Coda, I became a convert. It was wordless and it was repetitive, but it worked so well in the context of Hale’s composition. Drama and intensity were complemented by vocal beauty.

The Sylvan Coda album launched last year features Hale, Gian Slater, Nathan Slater on nylon string guitar, Julian Banks on tenor sax, Ben Vanderwal on drums, Javier Fredes  on percussion), Denis Close on snare drums, caxixis (small basket filled with seeds) and repinique (Brazilian drum), Johnny Tedesco  on cajon and palmas (hand percussion), Richard Tedesco on frame drums and palmas and Lachlan Carrick on effects and textural percussion.

The album is impressive. It is a powerful work. But I believe the addition of Gawler and Gilmartin, Danny Fischer on drums and, of course, the accomplished physicality of Johnny Tedesco’s flamenco in Solea por Bulerias gave so much feeling, life and energy to this performance of Sylvan Coda that the character of the work changed. The album has a sombre feel in parts, but the live outing added verve and focus. I found one duet by Gilmartin and Gian Slater entrancing.

The sustained applause that greeted the ensemble at the evening’s end spoke volumes. This was a coda to remember.

ROGER MITCHELL

See also:

The review in The Age by Jessica Nicholas

Pictures from Sylvan Coda live:

Nathan Slater

Nathan Slater

Gian Slater

Gian Slater

Jacq Gawler

Jacq Gawler

Emma Gilmartin and Gian Slater

Emma Gilmartin and Gian Slater

Emma Gilmartin

Emma Gilmartin

Johnny Tedesco and Chris Hale

Johnny Tedesco and Chris Hale

Johnny Tedesco

In full flight: Johnny Tedesco

Johnny Tedesco

Rhythm: Johnny Tedesco

Gian Slater and Julian Banks

Gian Slater and Julian Banks

Sylvan Coda

Which Way Music has released the album Sylvan Coda.

See also:

The review in The Age by Jessica Nicholas

POIGNANT TRIBUTE TO A DEAR FRIEND

Chris Hale

Chris Hale

PREVIEW: Christopher Hale’s Sylvan Coda, presented by the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, Tuesday 12 February 2013, 9pm

Acoustic bass guitarist Christopher Hale, who won the Freedman Jazz Fellowship in 2012, performs for the MJC tonight with his award-winning project, Sylvan Coda.

This ensemble has also released a self-titled album, which is Hale’s first project since the untimely death of his colleague, pianist Will Poskitt in late 2008.

Chris Hale Gian Slater

Chris Hale performs with Gian Slater

The MJC describes the project as a return to some of his early influences, with music that crosses the boundaries between jazz, flamenco and classical music. The ensemble will feature Gian Slater, Jacq Gawler, Emma Gilmartin (voice & percussion), Julian Banks (tenor sax), Nathan Slater (guitar), Johnny Tedesco (percussion & dance), Javier Fredes (percussion), and guest Danny Fischer (drums).

Sylvan Coda

The album features Ben Vanderwal on drums, Denis Close on snare drums, caxixis (small basket filled with seeds) and repinique (Brazilian drum), Richard Tedesco on frame drums and palmas (hand percussion) and Lachlan Carrick on effects and textural percussion.

The following biographical material on William Poskitt was published before a tribute concert at the Kitten Club in Little Collins Street, Melbourne a year after his death:

“William Poskitt was born in York, England, and began playing at four years of age. After being accepted into the Victorian College of the Arts Melbourne for both repertoire and improvisation course auditions, he undertook the improvisation course which he completed with honours in 2000.

“While a student at the VCA he received a host of awards for his academic and performance skills, including the Memorial Mensa Award, giving him an honorary place in Mensa.

 Poskitt completed his Masters in 2005 and became a member of the sessional teaching staff in 2008.

“He passed away on 8 November 2008 at the age of 31. Working alongside some of Australia’s leading artists, his contribution to the music industry has left a lasting impression. Although his passing was a sudden shock, his gift to the world was his music and his music will live forever.”

Which Way Music, which has released the album Sylvan Coda, provided the following background:

An unconventional, freethinking proponent of the acoustic bass guitar, Christopher Hale is “a remarkably talented and versatile young bassist [and] an enormously gifted composer and arranger” (The Age). After a long creative hiatus following the passing of his closest friend and musical collaborator, Will Poskitt, Hale returns with a new album, a powerful and poignant love letter to his dear friend.

Sylvan Coda reaches deep into Hale’s formative years of immersion in Flamenco and Afro-Cuban music, and emerges as an album of poise and originality.

Featuring a 10-piece band of guitars, voices and percussion and produced with Lachlan Carrick (Gotye, Lior, The Drones) Sylvan Coda is an epic, widescreen vision: Cuban religious drums, Gian Slater’s angelic vocals, Flamenco brio and deep, insistent rock, saturated with technicolor emotion and hard-earned, heartbroken optimism.

The blood that flows through Sylvan Coda, Christopher Hale’s long awaited new album, is saturated with memories. For over 10 years, Hale led the celebrated Christopher Hale Ensemble with two long-time friends and colleagues: cellist Will Martina and the remarkable pianist Will Poskitt. Over three albums and numerous international tours, the Ensemble created a unique brand of improvising chamber music, which introduced the young musicians to the international stage and earned them a reputation as ‘one of Australia’s hottest groups’ (Musica Viva) for their ‘intimate, intricate and finely balanced music . . . which demonstrates how successfully this group blurs the line between chamber music and jazz’ (All About Jazz New York).

See also:

Australian Jazz.net preview of the CD release in August 2012

Broadway Music World preview to the launch of Sylvan Coda.

McALLS FAIR IN SIBLING RIVALRY

REVIEW: Stonnington Jazz 2012
John McAll’s Black Money/Barney McAll’s Chaos Lento: A Guajira Project, Chapel Off Chapel, May 23, 2012

John McAll's Black Money at Chapel Off Chapel

John McAll’s Black Money at Chapel Off Chapel

The brothers McAll performing together in the one venue was always going to be something special — it had never happened before — and it proved to be a real highlight of this year’s festival. The elder brother, John, is in Australia these days and the younger, Barney, in New York.

John McAll

John McAll at the piano in Black Money, with Phillip Rex on bass.

The first set was also a CD launch for pianist, bandleader and composer John McAll‘s second Black Money album, Alter Ego, featuring David Rex on alto sax, Adam Simmons on tenor and contra alto clarinet, Jordan Murray on trombone, Sam Bates on drums and Phillip Rex on bass. With Simmons abroad, Julien Wilson stepped in on tenor at Chapel Off Chapel, but there was no one to fill in on the lower-range  clarinet, which was a pity.

David Rex on alto sax and Jordan Murray (at left).

David Rex on alto sax and Jordan Murray (at left).

John McAll’s eponymous first album Black Money. recorded in New Jersey in 2007 and released in 2009 with a different line-up, has long been a favourite of mine. The darkish allusions, black humour and perceptive inspirations behind John’s compositions are there again on Alter Ego.

Phillip Rex on bass and Sam Bates on drums.

Phillip Rex on bass and Sam Bates on drums.

The band began with I Love Black and I Hate Love, which confirmed that John’s compositions are always full of interest, followed by the robust, vigorous Standing Room, with great solos from McAll, Rex, Murray and Wilson.

John McAll

With feeling: John McAll

The solemn, even melancholy Mirrors followed, with Murray showing why the trombone is so easy to love and McAll’s piano expressive and fluid.

Julien Wilson on tenor sax, John McAll on piano

Julien Wilson on tenor sax, John McAll on piano.

Boogie Dragon, off the first album, came next, followed by ’40s movie-inspired Assassin, which saw McAll right into it and Wilson catching just the right flavour for a desert song. I could almost see “El Aurens” riding past on his camel.

Jordan Murray on trombone.

Jordan Murray on trombone.

Before Juggernaut, which intriguingly refers to the weight of all the responsibilities and troubles we all carry in life, John McAll appeared to take a call on his mobile. Scripted or not, it was in tune with the occasionally irreverent tone of the whole gig with the McAll brothers. The piano solo in Juggernaut was really swinging.

Sam Bates on drums.

Sam Bates on drums.

The set closed with Refugee, with top solos from Rex and Bates. The piece really built in intensity and had a spiky, staccato feel at times, as well some sweeping piano vistas. My only regret was that Black Money did not play Glitter and Dust from the first album, but the set demonstrated that this band, coupled with the elder McAll’s compositions, is — to repeat a cliche — on the money.

Barney McAll's Chaos Lento: A Guajira Project

Barney McAll’s Chaos Lento: A Guajira Project.

For Barney McAll‘s Chaos Lento: A Guajira Project, the line-up was Barney on keyboards, Ben Hauptmann on guitar, Phillip Rex on bass, Craig Simon on drums and Javier Fredes on percussion. According to Wikipedia, Guajira is “country music” in Cuban Spanish, and has a mixture of 3/4 and 6/8 rhythms, but I’m not sure how well that applies to this outing.

With feeling: Barney McAll

With feeling: Barney McAll.

The set began with Barney paying tribute to Mooroolbark (for producing such musical luminaries as Doug de Vries, Rob Barnard and Len Barnard) and dad Jack McAll, before telling a tale about his elder sibling painting rocks gold. Then the band delivered the strongly accented beat of Non Compliance, with Barney making his presence felt with some emphatic piano passages.

Javier Fredes on percussion.

Javier Fredes on percussion.

Then followed the compelling, rhythmically driven pieces Untitled and Transform, the latter with Barney playing piano and keyboard. There was heaps of swing and groove in this, with a beautiful fade.

Phillip Rex on bass, Craig Simon on drums.

Phillip Rex on bass, Craig Simon on drums.

Summer Lawn had Phil Rex deliver a potent solo. Piano was, with bass, the driving force in a sustained exploration of patterns with variations. Perhaps it went on a little long, but I found it mesmeric and felt that it was best described as “power meditation”. There was momentum and involvement here that I could not help but contrast with what I had felt was lacking to some degree in Barney’s performance of Graft at Wangaratta Jazz in 2011.

The final piece for this band, though not the set, was a superb debut of Feb, which was written for this gig. This piece canvassed a range of moods, with the piano opening with reflection and becoming expansive before some hot percussion from Fredes and drama in some “crash & bash” on the piano. I loved the changing colours of the piano in this — towards the end Barney produced a haunting feel with notes floating and short, high runs that had great beauty.

Julien Wilson, David Rex, Jordan Murray

Julien Wilson, David Rex, Jordan Murray

In the final piece for the night, Insight, it all came together — well, the bands did. The brothers McAll sat at piano (John) and keyboard (Barney), while the remaining four from Black Money joined Barney’s band onstage.

Grand larceny: Barney removes brother John from the piano.

Grand larceny: Barney removes brother John from the piano.

It did not take long for the sibling rivalry to surface. Hamming it up awards could have been handed out to the brothers as Barney grabbed John and hauled him off the piano. Of course the elder brother returned on keyboard and the two put their heads together to cap off this extraordinary collaboration with their bands.

First time performing together: The brothers McAll.

First time performing together: The brothers McAll.

The brothers McAll gig was a hoot, but also had plenty of great musicianship to go with the fun and games.

ROGER MITCHELL