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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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