Tag Archives: MELBOURNE JAZZ FRINGE FESTIVALS 2009 & 2010

MELBOURNE JAZZ FRINGE FESTIVAL 2010 — DAY 6

2010 — A BASS ODYSSEY AT YARRA EDGE THEATRE, NMIT

What a brilliant concept dreamed up by bassist Tamara Murphy. This was a festival highlight for me, especially Ben Robertson’s Indian-influenced piece on acoustic bass with a little help from his friendly drone. More later, but here are a few pics from the three sets:

Ben Robertson
Ben Robertson

ben robertson
Ben Robertson

Chris Hale
Chris Hale

Chris hale and Gian Slater
Chris hale and Gian Slater

Ida Hansen
Ida Hansen

Jonathan Heilbron
Jonathan Heilbron

Ida Hansen and Jonathan Heilbron
Ida Hansen and Jonathan Heilbron

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MELBOURNE JAZZ FRINGE FESTIVAL 2010 — DAY 4

VICTORIA UNIVERSITY SHOWCASE AT BENNETTS LANE

The big room at Bennetts was packed to hear the new talent on the block from VU, with undergraduates and returning graduates of music performance courses.

I missed the first set, from the Lorraine Anne Quartet — Lorraine Anne (vocals), Fionn O’Sullivan (piano), Ben Salvador (bass) and Nathan Power (drums) — but the applause was loud so it must have been well received.

Yanina Oliver
Yanina Oliver with her quartet

Next up came Luna and Skye, with Yanina Oliver (vocals/drums), Fionn O’Sullivan (piano), Luke Anticevic (guitar) and Ben Salvador (bass) performing an original compositional project called “The Story of Annabelle Charlesworth”.

I’m not sure I grasped much of Annabelle’s life story, but it is impressive that students are involved in developing such projects. The notes handed out, which I saw after, serve only to add to the intrigue. O’Sullivan on piano and Oliver on drums and vocals were the standouts in this group, especially Oliver’s voice. There seemed to be power and presence in her voice, but her vocal contribution was restrained, in keeping with the piece.

Du Gitaristo

Two graduates — guitarists Matthew Erickson and Michael Hanley — performed three original pieces as Du Gitaristo (apparently Esperanto). Both showed great technical ability and finesse.

Du Gitaristo

Next, the Louise Joy Quintet, Louise Joy on vocals, Daniel Grey on piano, Michael Pateras on guitar, Marc Clemente on electric bass and Yanina Oliver on drums played their version of the nineties White Town hit Your Woman. They left us wanting more. Joy was feisty in her delivery as she sang “So cut the crap and tell me that you’re through” and clearly has the ability to grab the attention of an audience. But how did she injure her finger? Was she telling someone “I could never be your woman” and they took it hard? Yanina Oliver was again a hit on drums.

Louise Joy
Louise Joy Quintet

Yanina Oliver
Yanina Oliver

Louise Joy
Louise Joy Quintet

Yanina Oliver
Yanina Oliver

Circulation, with Caleb Garfinkel on guitar and laptop, Bryce Clark on piano and Nathan Power on drums, took things in the direction of new music with a coherent, engrossing piece, which developed slowly.

Caleb Garfinkel
Caleb Garfinkel

Nathan Power
Nathan Power

This evening showed that a lot of talented young musicians, including composers, are emerging from VU. It augurs well, but we need more people to fill our many fine venues.

MELBOURNE JAZZ FRINGE FESTIVAL 2010 — DAY 1

APRA COMMISSION CONCERT
Commission Winner Gian Slater: Gone, Without Saying

Gian Slater et al
Gian Slater and her singers

What a great start to the MIJFF for 2010! Sonja Horbelt praised the work of the committee and the support of sponsors, including APRA, Victoria University and Miriam Zolin’s journal extempore, which is about to launch its fourth edition and is a must-have for serious lovers of improvised music and the arts.

Then it was on with the music:

The festival’s commission concert always produces something inventive and compelling. Last year it was a work guided by Ren Walters. This year Gian Slater and 13 singers performed at BMW Edge in a work for voices designed to explore the notion of communication between and without words. The singers were Jenny Barnes, Tom Barton, Helen Catanchin, Hailey Cramer, Miriam Crellin, Georgie Darvidis, Ed Fairlie, Bronwyn Hicks, Kate Kelsey–Sugg, Louisa Rankin, Damien Slingsby and Loni Thomson.

The concert was described as exploring what “cannot be put into words — those things we don’t wish to speak of, or those that go without saying”. The work was “written for voices using experimental and extended vocal techniques with intricate, textural layering and conceptual improvising”.

The performance received a standing ovation. I was tired and hungry, but that was soon irrelevant as these singers took us on a journey of discovery that was audibly rich and yet brimming with subtlety. This must have taken so much work to perfect and was no doubt a difficult work for the vocalists. There was so much to take in that it would be great to see and hear the work again, and to reflect on what it was expressing about how we communicate (or don’t).

This was not mainstream jazz (did anyone expect that?) and perhaps it was not improvised, but fairly carefully composed. But it was riveting.

(And I think I used to know a Bronwyn Hicks at The Melbourne Times years ago. She was a cartoonist. Any connection?)

Here’s a few other pics:

Gian Slater et al
In full flight

Gian Slater et al
Gian using a “music box”.

Gian Slater singers
Singers need a hand

FIRST SET — TIM WILSON AND ANDREA KELLER DUO:
Life That Lingers

Andrea Keller
Andrea Keller

Before Gian and her singers, Andrea Keller on piano and Tim Wilson on saxophone played with great empathy and understanding. There was a strong sense that the musicians were listening intently to each other and responding, though their communication was not that visibly apparent. It would be fair to say that for Keller and Wilson there was much that went without saying and much that was best said with music.

Tim Wilson
Tim Wilson

For details of the Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival, including Big Arse Saturday, which I can’t get to because I’m working, visit the MIJFF website.