Tag Archives: Nathan Slater

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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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.