Tag Archives: paul williamson

FINELY BALANCED QUINTET

Paul Williamson leads his quintet to launch "Finding the Balance".

Paul Williamson leads his quintet to launch “Finding the Balance”.

IMAGE GALLERY

Paul Williamson Quintet: Finding the Balance album launch

Trumpeter and composer Paul Williamson launched his 11th CD at The Jazzlab on Sunday, November 12. Finding the Balance (Jazzhead), features long-time collaborators, Perth-based Jamie Oehlers (tenor saxophone), Andrea Keller (piano), James McLean (drums) and Christopher Hale (acoustic bass guitar).

The original compositions and group aesthetic reflected Williamson’s desire to produce music with memorable themes with the ability to take listeners on musical journeys. Expect mesmerising improvisations, spirited interaction and complementary individual conceptions.

The Jazzlab was packed for this outing, the musicians attracting enthusiastic applause. Some images from the gig are below.

Roger Mitchell

 

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BREAKING NEW GROUND OUT WEST

Satsuki Odamura

Satsuki Odamura plays koto with Way Out West

PICTORIAL UPDATE:

Way Out West plays Footscray Community Arts Centre, 7.30pm Tuesday 3 June for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival

It was a significant milestone last night when Peter Knight‘s ensemble Way Out West played in Footscray at the venue in which the band — with a slightly different line-up — played its first gig 14 years ago. It was also significant in that the MIJF was venturing out west for the first time this year.

Yay! A crowded house for jazz out west.

Yay! A crowded house for jazz out west.

It was a relief to see that the seats in the FCAC Performance Space were filling quickly. Westies are waking up to the delights of live music.

Band shows its colours: instruments await Way Out West players.

Band shows its colours: instruments await Way Out West players.

I rarely post images in colour (more of that in a moment), but in this case the lighting complemented the array of instruments assembled on stage for Way Out West musicians, who must need a large truck to carry their gear. There are two versions of the Japanese koto for Satsuki Odamura and a bewildering array of drums and percussion devices played by Ray Pereira — he seems to add an instrument every year.

In the black: Raj Jayaweera on drums and Paul Williamson on tenor sax.

In the red: what unkind lighting can do to Raj Jayaweera on drums and Paul Williamson on tenor sax.

Waiting in the dark on the side with the young photographers clad in light blue MIJF T-shirts before the performance, I wondered what the lighting would be like. Let’s face it, lighting is only of concern to photographers and not punters, but that does not mean it is unimportant. In most venues it is passable at best. Often one or two members of a band are in bright light, the others all in darkness. The wonderful red spots are the bane of music photographers’ lives.

When the lights came up, and we had two songs in which to take our shots (a rule seemingly ignored by the T-shirted snappers), I groaned inwardly. Again, I understand that audiences do not care about lighting provided the music is good, but we take photographs to help promote the bands and the music, and to attract more people to live music. Let’s just say that the image above shows what happens in red light. The image below shows why many photographers turn shots into black and white in a bid to resurrect what they can.

In the black: Raj Jayaweera on drums and Paul Williamson on tenor sax.

In the black: Raj Jayaweera on drums and Paul Williamson on tenor sax.

While on about photography at gigs and festivals, controls are vital to protect the listening experience of patrons and in order not to drive musicians mad. But the rule of first two songs only has its problems, because in jazz that could be very short or very long. And the imposed limit means that the clicking is going to go on regardless of whether the first two songs are quiet or not, because that’s the only window of opportunity. Really it would be better if photographers respected the music and did not shoot at all in quiet passages. Unless, of course, they can afford completely silent cameras. I’m still searching for an affordable camera that is completely silent and yet copes with low light.

Satsuki Odamura

Satsuki Odamura

Way Out West played four new compositions — Latest and Breaking, The Birds, Nine Years Later (dedicated to Peter Knight’s son Quinn, 9) and Anthony Blaise. The oldies were Music For April and the closing Is the Moon Really This Far Away? This post is a rave with pics rather than a review, but I loved the new material, especially The Birds and Nine Years Later.

Satsuki Odamura

Satsuki Odamura

The main changes in line-up to Way Out West have been the addition of Odamura on kotos and Lucas Michailidis on guitar. With a new album coming out soon (more details later), the band has moved on and is entering a new era with a different feel. It works. The new pieces utilise the koto well, as well as Pereira’s diverse talents.

Lucas Michailidis and Howard Cairns

Lucas Michailidis and Howard Cairns

Michailides is another significant addition and he brings exceptional musicianship along with an ability to sync with other players.

Peter Knight on fire

Peter Knight on fire

Peter Knight on trumpet and flugel was in fine and fiery form on the horns, but for me his work on laptop in Nine Years Later was the highlight.

Paul Williamson

Paul Williamson pumps it out.

Paul Williamson is a seasoned and spectacular performer. In this outing I felt that he and Howard Cairns, along with the New York resident Raj Jayaweera did not have enough time in the spotlight. But the nature of this ensemble is that it works as a group, so it is not about solos.

That said, it would not be Way Out West without Ray Pereira in a drumming duel with someone. In this case it was guest Sri Lankan drummer Kanchana Karunaratna, who wowed the crowd with their rapid-fire technique and virtuosity.

Everyone loves a good drum stoush, but I loved this band’s layered subtlety best of all.

ROGER MITCHELL

Kanchana Karunaratna and Lucas Michailidis

Kanchana Karunaratna and Lucas Michailidis

FAMILIAR FACES AND SURPRISE GUESTS

Peter Gaudion

Peter Gaudion with The Syncopators

REVIEWS FOR STONNINGTON JAZZ 2014:
The Syncopators: 30th Anniversary Concert, Malvern Town Hall, Saturday 24 May, 8pm
Paul Williamson’s Hammond Jazz Party, Chapel Off Chapel, Saturday 24 May, 10.40pm (second set)

This has to be the first of two “Twitter-style” reviews, or how to sum up two sets in very few words indeed. Truth is, time has marched on and we are now in the opening days of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. But some Stonnington Jazz gigs deserve a mention — and much more if time permitted.

The Syncopators

The Syncopators

So, for their 30th Anniversary Concert, much-loved traditional jazz band The Syncopators treated us to a first set full of swing, humour, energy and good old-fashioned foot-stomping music played with clarity and finesse. Frontline players Peter Gaudion (trumpet, vocals), Richard Miller (clarinet, saxophone, vocals) and Chris Ludowyk (trombone, vocals) were joined by Steve Grant (piano), Peter Baylor (guitar, banjo), James Clark (bass, tuba) and Rod Gilbert (drums, vocals).

Chris Ludowyk and Peter Baylor

Chris Ludowyk and Peter Baylor

I had to leave before the break, regretting that I would not hear guest Bob Barnard bring out his trumpet. Fem Belling was also to join the band on vocals in the second set. It was great to at last hear The Syncopators live rather than on a recording. But many patrons at tables in the town hall were renewing old acquaintances. Bring on the 40th anniversary concert.

Paul Williamson's Hammond Jazz Party

Renee Geyer joins Paul Williamson’s Hammond Jazz Party

Paul Williamson’s Hammond Jazz Combo, teaming the saxophonist-singer with Tim Neal (Hammond organ) and Mike Jordan (drums, vocals), has become a fixture at Stonnington Jazz. It is always a hoot. Paul loves to surprise with guest players on the night. This time we knew from the program that the combo would be joined by Bob Sedergreen (piano), Ross Irwin (trumpet) and Dave Palmer (trombone), but it was a huge thrill to see Jeff Lang appear for the fourth song and later Renee Geyer entering into the antics.

Jeff Lang and Tim Neal

Jeff Lang and Tim Neal

The taste of Lang’s slide guitar was not enough for me. I could have listened all night to Sedergreen’s swinging notes. And Tim Neal on the Hammond can send out vibrations that are sensational in bodily sense.

There were serious moments — Let The Good Times Roll was played as a tribute to the recently departed Gil Askey — but this gig had its usual party feel, with some delicious brassy farts and lots of horns either going ballistic or delighting in their united power.

If you’ve never been to this jazz party, make sure to come next year.

ROGER MITCHELL

The Syncopators have some gigs coming up:

Thursday 5th June: Rising Sun Hotel, 2 Raglan Street, South Melbourne. 6.30 – 9.30pm

Sunday 22nd June: Rosstown Hotel, cnr. Dandenong & Koornang roads, Carnegie. 1.30 – 4.30pm

The Syncopators