Tag Archives: Michelle Nicole

VOCALISTS OF CALIBRE

FESTIVAL OPENING: Stonnington Jazz opens on Thursday, 16 May with Jazz Vocals Showcase

There were two options last night — stay home and watch the Opposition Leader respond to the Budget, or hear two vocalists at Malvern Town Hall. Not a difficult choice, really. One wonders whether Tony Abbott would judge these accomplished singers as “vocalists of calibre”.

As usual it was a great night at the festival’s opening concert, on this occasion featuring vocalists Kristin Berardi and Michelle Nicole, each with top bands. It’s not an evening — or the venue — for hard core jazz fans, but in the elegant setting of the town hall, with patrons at candle-lit tables, it is fitting for the launch of this festival celebrating 100 per cent Australian jazz.

Here are a few images from the concert, which will repeated tonight, May 17, at the same venue.

The sets were very different, as you’d expect from these vocalists, but both demonstrated their immersion in, and the joy they obviously take from, the music they present.

Kristin Berardi

Kristin Berardi at Malvern Town Hall with Brendan Clarke and Carl Morgan.

Kristin Berardi

Kristin Berardi and Carl Morgan.

Kristin Berardi

Kristin Berardi

Kristin Berardi

Kristin Berardi and Brendan Clarke.

Michelle Nicole

Michelle Nicole

Michelle Nicole

Michelle Nicole

Michelle Nicole

Michelle Nicole with Jonathan Swartz and Geoff Hughes.

Michelle Nicole

Michelle Nicole

Michelle Nicole

Michelle Nicole

ROGER MITCHELL

Howard Cairns Quintet at Paris Cat

Howard Cairns
Howard Cairns

It was great, on May 28, to have bassist Howard Cairns — who has played with (among others) Yarra Yarra Jazz Band, Ross Hannaford, Allan Browne’s Red Onions and New Rascals, the Dancehall Racketeers, Michelle Nicole, Igor Oskolkov’s Gypsy Swing, Andy Cowan and the internationally acclaimed Way Out West, as well as touring widely in Australia, Europe and America — leading his group to play his material.

Grant, Simmons, Cairns
Grant, Simmons, Cairns

It was their first gig, enabled courtesy of Martin Jackson and Melbourne Jazz Co-operative, and the musicians and the relatively small audience had a great time. With Cairns in a chordless line-up were Mike Jordan (drums), Steve Grant (trumpet), Don Stewart (trombone) and Adam Simmons (woodwinds).

Howard Cairns
Howard Cairns

I had agreed beforehand to stay for only the first set, so I had to stick to that. Still, one set was far better than none, and the Cairns Quintet treated us to four pieces with the theme of trains, cars and travel. The Newell Waltz, which began after a little quiz about where that highway starts and finishes (Tocumwal and Goondiwindi were the answers), was subdued and moody. The Inland Road was more rugged, with a few moments when it definitely sounded as if the road surface had deteriorated and there were some sharp edges and potholes to negotiate.

Steve Grant
Steve Grant

In 500,000 miles (or should that be kilometres) the band put their foot down, giving us a souped up vision of scenery, and maybe a few road trains, flashing past. Top stuff. And, to end the first set, the quintet played Way Out West’s Footscray Station, which I would not have recognised. As Howard Cairns said, the quintet had its own take on the piece, which did sound quite different. The interplay between horns was a delight. A standout for me was Grant on cornet — he seemed to play with such ease and yet with so much emotion, feeling, call it what you will.

Mike Jordan
Mike Jordan

As usual at your average jazz gig, the lighting left some musicians in the dark, so Don Stewart on trombone was often hard to pick up in photographs, as was Mike Jordan on drums. But that’s a lament of the lens, so to speak, and in no way detracted from the music. Hope the Howard Cairns Quintet will be back soon