Tag Archives: PBS


The End

The End

PREVIEW: World premiere of Tim Willis’s suite Night & Day at Bennetts Lane, 8pm Saturday 1 June as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Amid the excitement of international artists arriving for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, which starts tonight (31 May) , it is easy for significant contributions by Australian musicians to slip under the radar.

This year special treats from local musicians include the world premieres on Saturday 1 June of guitarist Tim Willis’s Night and Day, and on Monday
3 June of the Allan Browne Trio’s Lost in the Stars, inspired by the Zodiac Suites of composers Mary Lou Williams and Karlheinz Stockhausen. These should be marked as concerts not to be missed.

Australian quartet Red Fish Blue, which delighted the Chapel Off Chapel audience during the recent Stonnington Jazz festival, will launch its second album, The Sword and the Brush, on Sunday 2 June at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, followed by a separate concert that night in which Jordan Murray on trombone and Paul Williamson on trumpet will join the Rob Burke and Tony Gould Quartet.

Solo in Red

Kynan Robinson and Adam Simmons in “Solo in Red” at The Salon, MRC.

As well, on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 June at 6pm, and Saturday 8 June at 3pm and 6pm, Jazz in the Salon at MRC will feature composer/percussionist Alastair Kerr’s new suite The Archer and the Dancer with Panorama do Brasil, and composer Kynan Robinson’s Solo in Red — a musical exploration of the sparseness and fragility of Cormac McCarthy’s writing — performed by Melbourne sextet Collider. Liza Power wrote about Solo in Red in The Age in August last year.

Last year’s MIJF premiered Tamara Murphy‘s entrancing suite “Big Creatures Little Creatures: The Modular Suite”, performed by Murphy’s Law. Murphy was the 2012 winner of the PBS Young Elder of Jazz Award, which includes $10,000 towards the commissioning and presentation of a new jazz composition.

The aim of the commission is to “provide support for composers at a pivotal point in their career, and to encourage creative flair and distinction in the jazz idiom”. The PBS Young Elder of Jazz Commission is made possible through the support of Mark Newman.

Guitarist/composer Tim Willis is this year’s winner of the award. His band
The End will present Night & Day at Bennett’s Lane at 8pm on Saturday before PBS 106.7FM broadcasts the full work at 9am on Jazz on Saturday hosted by Jim McLeod on 8 June. Tickets are available from Bennetts Lane Jazz Club  or 9663 2856

The End is Tim Willis on guitar, Jon Crompton on alto sax, John Felstead on tenor sax, Gareth Hill on bass and Nick Martyn on drums. The band is known for its original take on jazz-rock.

Night & Day, which will draw on the work of minimalist composers is described as “a study in human emotions” with five movements that “explore emotional transformation and renewal, with subtly interwoven themes acting as a showcase for solo and group improvisation”.

The End has released two albums — the self-titled debut CD and Keep Your Chin Up. The band’s music has been described as being “steeped in the jazz tradition” but bringing “a rock edge that speaks to those who grew up listening to and loving Radiohead and Soundgarden”.

John McBeath, in The Australian, wrote that “This band presents a uniquely satisfying, high energy blend of jazz and rock ideas without subtracting from either genre”. Ron Spain, in Australian Jazz Scene, wrote “If this is the beginning of The End, then one eagerly anticipates the hereafter”.


Melbourne Jazz Fringe 2009 — Day 4

Andrea Keller with Geoff Hughes

After Big Arse Sunday I needed to recover. That meant deciding to leave the VU Showcase at Bennetts Lane and Musica @ La Mama to others and slipping quietly through the loudly squeaking door at Lebowski’s — Cafe 303 in High St, Northcote. In a relaxed atmosphere, attentive patrons were listening to Keller on Nord and Hughes on guitar, comfortably set up in the window. As bicycles, trams and cars zipped past outside, we were in a private world.

Hughes Keller

PBS broadcaster Kenny Weir, well known in jazz circles before he chose to confine his musical tastes to dead people, once allegedly described John McBeath’s jazz reviews as “laundry lists”. That’s another story. But I may commit that sin by including the Keller – Hughes set list. Before I arrived they played Jim’s Favourite (Keller), Same Time Same Face (Hughes). The Rain Outside (Keller), Cry From Far Away (Hughes) and Broken (Keller) completed the set. After the break they played Galumping Round the Nation (Keller), Chill Chaser (Hughes), an excerpt of Hand Me Downs (Keller) as a Nord solo, Small Comforts (Keller), Waking Dream (Hughes) and The Incredible View (Keller). Phew! Now to turn on the washing machine.

Andrea Keller

Both sets were totally engrossing — peaceful and introspective music to become totally absorbed in, as cares and frustrations and clutter of the world outside faded into insignificance. This was just what I needed after the seven-hour stint at Big Arse Sunday.

During Chill Chaser I mused on the sounds being produced by guitar and Nord. The contrast between them is not that great, so that they often produce parallel or complementary sounds, with the Nord often sounding fuzzier and more full, but not markedly so. Waking Dream began with a guitar solo that had a classical feel and then included interludes in which Hughes and Keller played independently yet always responsive to the other. It occurred to me then that both Nord and guitar can puddle in the mud of chords or go on flights of celebration or feel the joy in single, sustained notes. And each musician appeared to be utterly submerged in the piece.

Geoff Hughes

Hughes followed a slow Keller introduction in Small Comforts with some deeper, bluesy riffs, and in The Incredible View there seemed to be quite a bit of dissonance.

There was a simplicity to this gig — just two players doing their thing without the complications of bass or drums. It never ceases to be a source of wonder to me that this interaction and invention can be accomplished with such apparent ease and with such a satisfying result. In all the time that Keller and Hughes played Cafe 303 on the night, at no time did interest flag. And it seemed to be good for the soul.

Perhaps it is time for Geoff Hughes to fire up his studio and invite over Andrea Keller for a recording session.

Here are some more images:

Andrea Keller

Geoff Hughes

Andrea Keller