Tag Archives: Melbourne Recital Centre

IN SUPPORT OF SUPPORT ACTS

Johnny Tedesco

Johnny Tedesco and Chris Hale perform Sylvan Coda

REFLECTION:

Christopher Hale’s Sylvan Coda opens for Jorge Pardo “Huellas” at Melbourne Recital Centre, Saturday 31 May at 7.30pm

Here and Now opens for Larry Carlton Quartet at Melbourne Recital Centre, Wednesday 4 June at 7.30pm

In any international festival the established practice is for the visiting performers, as the main drawcards, to be on stage for much longer and to be preceded by support bands from Australia. This is a good way for our home-grown musicians to share in the festival limelight and potentially gain a following from the larger audiences who appear out of the woodwork.

I am always disappointed to notice how many seats that are vacant during the opening set and yet are filled when the main performers come on stage. It is a pity not only because it shows disrespect for Australian musicians, but also because the patrons who arrive late are likely to miss hearing some very talented and inventive artists.

The opening sets at MRC this year seem to be way too short. I have not heard any complaints from our “local” musicians — possibly they are glad to have even such limited exposure in such a large festival — but the balance does seem to have swung too much towards the main acts on the bill.

In the case of Christopher Hale’s Sylvan Coda, which opened for Jorge Pardo‘s flamenco jazz, what the audience heard and saw was a tiny taste or fragment of the original suite. I’m sure Johnny Tedesco‘s fantastic flamenco footwork was a highlight for many in the audience — I was struck by how his feet called to mind the fluttering of butterfly wings and the feather-light, incredibly rapid work by some drummers I’ve heard — but it would have been impossible to convey the way in which the original suite changed and developed.

Anyone who liked the snippet provided in this opener should watch for another performance of the full Sylvan Coda.

Sylvan Coda

Johnny Tedesco, Chris Hale, Nathan Slater and Ben Vanderwal in Sylvan Coda at Melbourne Recital Centre

Sylvan Coda

Jacq Gawler, Hannah Cameron, Gian Slater and Julian Banks

Chris Hale

Chris Hale

The other short opening set deserving special mention at MRC so far this year was the performance by Here and Now before the Larry Carlton Quartet.

I left a little early from Carlton’s set — to get to another festival gig and also because the music being played did not excite me. But a clear standout for me was the work of Andrea Keller on piano, Nilusha Dassenaike on vocals, Alex Pertout on percussion, Evripides Evripidou on bass and David Jones on drums.

I should confess that on this rainy evening I was tempted to arrive at 8.15pm to catch the main act, but decided I should respect the artists performing first. I am so glad I did.

Although this set was short, I felt that it took us to quite a special place. Each member of the ensemble contributed significantly, but Evripidou on bass was inventive and I found Keller’s solo, without needing to be loud, filling the auditorium as well as my being. I believed it would be one of the best piano solos of the festival. Her notes seemed to be drawing the audience into a state of total absorption. Dassenaike’s voice was integral to this meditative set.

Here and Now plays Melbourne Recital Centre

Here and Now plays Melbourne Recital Centre

Andrea Keller

Andrea Keller

Alex Pertout, Nilusha Dassenaike and Evripides Evripidou

Alex Pertout, Nilusha Dassenaike and Evripides Evripidou

Here and Now musicians take a bow.

Here and Now musicians take a bow.

I’d like to see opening acts given a fairer allocation of time in future festivals. But one thing is certain — it is never wise to come late and miss out on what comes first. It could well be what you appreciate most.

ROGER MITCHELL

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JAZZ GLITTERATI AT LARGE

Gerry Koster and John McBeath

Gerry Koster and John McBeath

Lots of faces keep turning up at Melbourne International Jazz Festival concerts. Some are fans who can’t resist the live music on offer, others are involved in the “jazz scene” in some way.

The faces above, snapped between sets at the Melbourne Recital Centre, are those of Gerry Koster of the ABC’s Jazz Up Late program and John McBeath, who reviews the festival for The Australian each year.

Do they agree on the standout gigs of the festival? Are they admirers of Livio Minafra or Chris Dave and The Drumhedz, or is a late-night jam with The Grid more to their tastes? Well, to find out you’ll have to tune in to Gerry’s program and read John’s festival review.

In this case they are about to hear Larry Carlton, but more about that in the next post…

ROGER MITCHELL

A BOOST TO AUSTRALIAN EXPORTS?

Students from The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music students from Monash University perform the music of Charles Lloyd.

PICTORIAL UPDATE: Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Saturday 31 May, 2014 at The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre

Festivals are about more than just providing a feast of music. Through masterclasses and conversation sessions they perform an educative role — for lovers of music and students taking the rocky road to becoming working musicians.

Over recent years it has been hard to keep count of how many young Australian jazz musicians have moved to New York City or to cities in Europe to study and gain experience. Many return only on visits. It’s fair to say these musicians are a significant export.

At The Salon yesterday evening as part of Explorations in Jazz, three groups of Monash University students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music had a chance to show what they had learned in some intensive one-hour sessions with visiting jazz greats Charles Lloyd, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland.

Michael Tortoni at The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre

Michael Tortoni at The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre

Melbourne International Jazz Festival artistic director Michael Tortoni opened proceedings and had a chance to hear the result before heading to the Reverence Hotel in Footscray, where the Horns of Leroy were performing as part the MIJF’s first foray out in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Rob Burke

Rob Burke

Associate Professor Rob Burke then introduced Charles Lloyd, who spoke briefly about the time he, Rogers and Harland had spent with the students and about jazz as “music of freedom and wonder”.

Then each group played two Lloyd tunes — Fish Out of Water, Blow Wind, Little Peace, Passing Through, Sweet Georgia Bright and Forest Flower.

Students from The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University

Reuben Rogers introduces students from Monash University

Group 2 had the advantage of being joined by Rogers and Harland, which really provided a solid foundation and kept things moving.

Students from The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University

Reuben Rogers enjoys sitting in with students from Monash University

This was a short concert, but its effect will no doubt linger for these young musicians.

Eric Harland hits it off with a student from Monash University

Eric Harland hits it off with a student from Monash University

Audiences of the future will reap the benefits of insights gathered during the learning and the performing by these students, who have had another valued opportunity to work with experienced mentors in improvised music.

ROGER MITCHELL

Students from The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University

Charles Lloyd thanks the students from Monash University