Tag Archives: Sam Keevers

A NEW GOULD LEAGUE

Dr Tony Gould and the honourable Scott Tinkler

Dr Tony Gould and the honourable Scott Tinkler

PREVIEW

Moreland City Phoenix Project, Saturday 12 December at 7.30pm, Cross Street Music Hall, 11-17 Cross St, East Brunswick

I don’t know who took the photograph above, but what a great shot of these esteemed gentlemen.

When I read the headline on the accompanying flyer — Handing over the baton concert — I jumped to the erroneous conclusion that Dr Tony Gould was to assume command of the band from the mercurial Scott Tinkler, exponent extraordinaire of trumpah.

Obviously I was wrong, because Gould is taking the patron’s baton after the death of that giant of Australian music, Peter Sculthorpe. And so the baton passes from one wonderful musician to another. Tinky, as the band leader is sometimes dubbed, will presumably stay at the helm.
So, after a hiatus of six months, the Moreland City Phoenix Project will rise again to perform in concert again on Saturday.
The “Handing Over the Baton” concert will open with Gould playing a Sculthorpe composition. That is surely reason enough to turn up. He will also perform with Tinkler.
The concert will also include compositions and arrangements by band member Cathy Connor (including an arrangement of a Bernie McGann piece) and  also a selection of new compositions by Jim Cuomo (also a band member), Sam Keevers, and Bob Sedergreen (arranged by Sonja Horbelt) and other composers.
Admission by donation.

ROGER MITCHELL

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MUSICIANS WHO MOVE

Gerald Clayton

Gerald Clayton                          Picture: Ben Wolf

Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival, November 1-4, 2013

This preview covers a lot of ground, with the aim of letting people know what is on offer. The joy of a festival such as Wangaratta is that patrons can take risks and dip into unfamiliar territory.

JAZZ PROGRAM PREVIEW

Music moves us, musicians move us and musicians move. So many times when we read the biographies of favourite musicians, we find they have made leaps to new places and new music communities — sometimes returning home eventually, sometimes not.

On a recent Sunday night at Melbourne’s Uptown Jazz Café, pianist Marc Hannaford played two sets at a farewell gig before leaving for at least five years in New York. He invited musician friends and colleagues to sit in. It was a great way to celebrate a big move in his life and career.

This year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues brings us many artists who have made significant moves to new places as their music developed.

As in previous years, many of the musicians are expatriate Australians. The line-up, carefully crafted by artistic director Adrian Jackson, raises the (admittedly immaterial) question of how long a local musician has to be living overseas before being classified as an international artist.

In a year when piano is the chosen instrument for the National Jazz Awards, it is fitting that the headline artist will be thrice Grammy-nominated young US pianist Gerald Clayton, who has attracted attention as a rising star in a trio with Joe Sanders on bass and Justin Brown on drums. On this visit Pete Van Nostrand  will be at the drum kit.

Clayton was born in Amsterdam, grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in New York. His trio’s third album, Life Forum, was due for release in Australia by Universal on September 2.

Clayton will spend some time working with Monash University music students before the festival, so a few students could well end up with the trio on stage for one concert. Here is a sample.

Chris McNulty

Chris McNulty      (Picture supplied)

Among the expatriate internationals making the trip to Wangaratta will be vocalist Chris McNulty, who has been based in New York since 1988, and this year won Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album for The Song That Sings You Here.

McNulty, who was in Melbourne for the Jazz Bell Awards, will perform with her partner, guitarist/composer Paul Bollenback, and bassist Ugonna Okegwo, both from New York, in The Magic Trio, a drumless collaboration they have shared since 2000. Bollenback will also lead a trio with Okegwo and Perth-based drummer Daniel Susnjar, who played with Paul when he was in the USA last year.

McNulty will also re-establish a link from her early days in a band with pianist/composer Paul Grabowsky, joined by Frank Di Sario on bass and Mike Jordan on drums.

Expatriate international Barney McAll is no stranger to Wangaratta. In 2011 he brought a choir and large ensemble to the festival stage for Graft, but this year he will appear solo and in a trio.

In what promises to be real treat, McAll will take to the Holy Trinity Cathedral stage to explore some of the gospel music he regularly performs on Sundays at a church in Brooklyn. Anyone who heard McAll’s three solo pieces during the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative 30th Anniversary Concert on January 27 this year at The Edge, Federation Square, will look forward to hearing more.

McAll, who described the Wangaratta festival as “the bohemian grove of Australian jazz”, told organisers he would be playing some spirituals and new solo pieces, including a preview “of my first solo piano recording, which will be called Every Piano Needs A House In It”.

Joining McAll in his Non-Compliance Trio will be friends Jonathan Zwartz on bass and Hamish Stuart on drums.

Another Australian export, guitarist/composer Peter O’Mara left Sydney for New York in 1981, moved to Munich the following year and has lived in Germany and, more recently, Austria for 30 years. Last at Wangaratta in 2002, O’Mara will lead his quartet from Vienna in what Jackson describes as music “on the jazz side of jazz-rock fusion, very electronic, funky and pretty exciting”. Expect a mix of what O’Mara describes as “modern jazz, odd-metre fusion and groove”, in which expat American Tim Collins on vibes shares melodies with the guitar. Here is a sample.

More of the European input so vital to any festival will come from Dutch trumpet player Eric Vloeimans, who uses an electronic attachment on his instrument and, with his quartet Gatecrash, will also bring a fusion and funk emphasis. Expect a range from jazz to world, electro-funk and “contemplative soundscapes that are punctuated by a touch of wackiness”.

Jef Neve

Jef Neve

Belgian pianist Jef Neve was most recently at Wangaratta in 2010 with his trio (see Ausjazz’s rave review), but this time will play solo piano as part of a world tour. Neve regards the piano as an orchestral instrument — “Everything is present: choir, strings, woodwinds, brass and, of course, percussion” — and says the “soul and sound of the instrument” is his main source of inspiration in his classically influenced playing.

Froy Aagre

Froy Aagre         (Picture supplied)

Norwegian saxophonist Froy Aagre performed at Wangaratta in 2009 with members of the Brisbane band Misinterprotato, now known as Trichotomy, who she met at Canada’s Banff Jazz Workshop in 2005. Sean Foran (electric piano) and John Parker (drums) from Trichotomy will join Aagre to present her new electric repertoire, which she says “fuses new electronic sounds into melodic, groove-based jazz” and is “a way to communicate joy to the audience”.

AUSTRALIAN ARTISTS

That pretty much covers the FIFO (fly in fly out) jazz and improvised music performers, but the line-up of Australians at Wangaratta this year is so extensive and exciting that it is arguable they could carry the festival.

Sydney pianist and composer Mike Nock will join reedsman Julien Wilson, whose playing recently has been outstanding, and guitarist Steve Magnusson will re-visit the trio that was so successful in May at Stonnington Jazz.

Barney McAll’s presence will enable two CD launches. Bassist Jonathan Zwartz will bring his nine-piece band together for the first time since the recording of The Remembering and Forgetting of the Air, which features McAll, Magnusson, Phil Slater on trumpet, Wilson on tenor, James Greening on trombone and sousaphone, Richard Maegraith on tenor and bass clarinet, Hamish Stuart on drums and Fabian Hevia on percussion. With this material and this line-up, no one should miss this.

McAll will also join Zwartz, Allan Browne on drums and Wilson — Julien recording for the first time in a classic tenor sax quartet — to launch their album of mostly standards, mostly ballads entitled This Is Always.

Julien Wilson, Sam Anning, Allan Browne

Julien Wilson, Sam Anning, Allan Browne

In another launch not to be missed (I know this because there was a recent preview at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club), expatriate bassist Sam Anning will join Wilson and Browne to celebrate Sweethearts, an absolutely entrancing album that serendipitously was recorded when Anning, over from New York, was delayed in Melbourne by a US visa problem, for which we all should be eternally grateful.

Expat drummer Raj Jayaweera, also be back from New York for the festival, will form the house band with Anning for the National Jazz Awards piano recitals.

The plethora of Australian jazz musicians in New York will be further depleted by the departure to Wangaratta of trombonist Shannon Barnett, who will reconvene her quartet — Nash Lee guitar, Chris Hale bass guitar and Hugh Harvey drums — and also launch a new band, U.nlock, with vocalist Gian Slater, Sam Anning and Raj Jayaweera with material the four worked on in New York recently. A key feature of U.nlock will be “voice and trombone sharing both the lead and accompanying roles”, Slater says.

Barnett will also perform as part of clarinettist and vocalist Barry Wratten’s New Orleans Pelicans with Michael McQuaid on trumpet and reeds, Steve Grant on piano, John Scurry on guitar and banjo, Howard Cairns or Leigh Barker (Saturday morning) on bass and Lynn Wallis on drums.

The much-missed trombonist will also assemble Dixie Jack, a local version of Ragstretch, a band with whom she has played in Denmark consisting of Copenhagen-based expat clarinet player and vocalist Chris Tanner, known for his classic jazz work with Julien Wilson in the band Virus, and guitarist Craig Fermanis, Sam Anning and Raj Jayaweera. Dixie Jack, consisting of Barnett, Wilson, Anning and Jayaweera, will play traditional jazz.

Classic jazz is well represented this year. Melbourne band the Sugarfoot Ramblers is led by Travis Woods on trumpet, with Jason Downes on reeds and graduates or current students of the jazz course at Monash University who share a fondness for New Orleans Jazz. Others in the line-up are James Macaulay trombone, Brett Thompson banjo and guitar, Marty Holoubek bass and Daniel Berry drums. From Sydney, The Cope Street Parade and The Finer Cuts, who have recorded with experienced trumpeter Geoff Bull, will also add their traditional jazz sounds. Allan Browne will join the Finer Cuts, who usually don’t perform with a drummer, for one session.

The Wangaratta festival always draws musicians from across the country, providing a relatively rare opportunity for them to share the stage. The exciting sextet led by Melbourne’s Paul Grabowsky will feature Jamie Oehlers from Perth on tenor and Sydney musicians James Greening on trombone, Andrew Robson on alto, Cameron Undy on bass and Simon Barker on drums. This band has recorded an album it hopes to release at the festival.

Satsuki Odamara

Satsuki Odamura, Paul Williamson and Peter Knight.

Another certain hit, Peter Knight’s band Way Out West, now features Sydney-based koto player, Satsuki Odamura, along with Melburnians Lucas Michailidis on guitar and Hugh Harvey on drums as well as founding members, Peter Knight on trumpet, flugelhorn, Paul Williamson on saxophones, Howard Cairns on bass and Ray Pereira on percussion.

And Melbourne vocalist Gian Slater will team with Perth saxophonist Jamie Oehlers and Melburnians Paul Grabowsky on piano, Ben Robertson on bass and Dave Beck on drums in The Differences to play material from the album of that name.

Two concerts enjoyed by patrons of Stonnington Jazz in May will also be on the Wangaratta program. Red Fish Blue is an alliance of two musicians from Melbourne, pianist Sam Keevers and percussionist Javier Fredes, with two from Sydney, bassist Brett Hirst and drummer Simon Barker. And vocalist Josh Kyle and Keevers will perform Songs of Friends, which are their interpretations of songs by Australian singers/composers.

The Cup Eve Concert will feature Joe Chindamo with his trio and Monique Di Mattina performing music from her recent album Nola’s Ark, which is a jazz blues hybrid.

AUSJAZZ RECOMMENDATIONS

This preview covers a lot of ground, with the aim of letting people know what is on offer. The joy of a festival such as Wangaratta is that patrons can take risks and dip into unfamiliar territory.

In case it helps, the following are the concerts that I’d be keen not to miss:

  • Barney McAll’s solo piano in Holy Trinity on Sunday, November 3 at 3pm
  • Jef Neve solo piano, WPAC Theatre, Sunday, Nov 3 at 1pm
  • Launch of Jonathan Zwartz album The Remembering and Forgetting of the Air, Friday, Nov 1, WPAC Theatre
  • Launch of McAll/Wilson/Zwartz/Browne album This Is Always, WPAC Memorial Hall, Saturday, Nov 2 at 2.30pm
  • Launch of Wilson/Anning/Browne album Sweethearts, WPAC Memorial Hall, Saturday, November 2 at 4.30pm
  • Barnett and Slater’s U.nlock, WPAC Memorial Hall, Sunday, Nov 3 at 2.30pm
  • Paul Grabowsky Sextet, WPAC Theatre, Sunday, Nov 3 at 10.30pm
  • Way Out West, WPAC Theatre, Saturday, Nov 2, 11am

ROGER MITCHELL

Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues

 

Stonnington Jazz — Opening Night

Vince Jones and friends

Vince Jones

Vince Jones wears his heart on his sleeve, and on Thursday night, May 14, at the opening concert of Stonnington Jazz for 2009, his heart was at bursting point. Every song demonstrated his love of the music and gratitude for the myriad musicians with whom he had performed over the years. Before the encore — and no doubt he needed a Little Glass of Wine — Vince said he had been a nervous wreck all day, but it had been “a great evening”. It had.

Festival artistic director Adrian Jackson introduced the concert to “celebrate the contribution Vince Jones has made over the past 30 years” before handing the night over to Jones, his voice and occasional horn, and 15 musicians from his past in a series of revolving line-ups. The first of those had Matt McMahon on piano, Ben Waples on bass, Simon Barker on drums, Tim Rollinson on guitar and Dale Barlow on tenor sax.

Rollinson, Waples

They began with Waltz for Debbie, with Vince (Jones sounds too formal) noting that Bill Evans’s jazz waltz called to mind thoughts of a father watching as his daughter grew from “an interest in teddy bears to Teddy Boys”. Barlow and McMahon were featured. The ballad Tenderly included a flute solo by Barlow and Vince summed it up: “Beautiful song, beautiful playing.”

The standard Let’s Get Lost moved Vince to recall the day in New York when, suffering flu and after drinking too much, he was urged by Art Blakey of the Jazz Messengers to, “Man, make a record.” And that’s how his album One Day Spent came about, featuring, among others, Dale Barlow.

Vince Jones gig

Barlow left the stage, leaving the quartet remaining to perform one of the night’s most moving numbers, We Let Them Do It, written by McMahon and Jones and inspired by peace activists around the world. Vince mentioned a few names, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, John Lennon and Nelson Mandela — “so many, yet so few”. Referring to the money spent on war rather than on education, hospitals … and jazz, Vince said the song title was accurate a lot of the time: “In the end that’s pretty much what happens.” The quartet was very strong and so were the vocals. Vince was warming to his task.

De Vries and Wilde

The next set of Vince’s comrades to join him on stage were Jex Saarelaht on piano, Doug De Vries on guitar, Allan Browne on drums, Wilbur Wilde on tenor sax and Steve Hadley on double bass. This group — some from Vince’s Tankerville Arms days, I believe — really heated things up, working together tightly on Stop This World (And Let Me Off), Can’t Afford to Live, Can’t Afford to Die (with a great Saarelaht solo) and Send Us Down More Love, on which De Vries treated us to some great playing. Wilde was restrained and not at all wild.

After the break, the line-up returned Barlow on sax and had Paul Grabowsky on piano, with Tony Floyd on drums. Again the change of personnel brought a new sound and vibe. They played The Rainbow Cake, written by Grabowsky with Jones, Don’t Jettison Everything (inspired, said Vince, by captain of the world Rupert Murdoch), with a Grabowsky solo and Floyd making his presence felt, and Let Me Please Come In, which Vince explained was a ballad about a woman who had an affair, but was trying to get back with her fellow. As Grabowsky left the stage he did not need to make up with Vince — they embraced.

Vince ran his swine flu gag past us (I rang the hot line and all I got was crackling) while Sam Keevers came to the piano, Simon Barker to the drum kit and Ben Waples to the bass. They played Doug De Vries’s moving The Nature of Power, with Vince memorably singing “it’s the power of nature, not the nature of power”. De Vries, who had been a joy to hear, left before the ensemble played Love, Love, Love, featuring Keevers, then the standard Secret Love, before which Vince confessed to having been infatuated with Doris Day’s red lips and black hair after seeing her on the screen. He was about eight. Keevers did some strumming of the piano strings before the tempo quickened, the piano teamed with drums and bass to bring rhythm to the fore and Barker entertained with a solo. Keevers departed as Wilde and Rollinson returned and Vince waxed lyrical about “wonderful creators of music”. He was right.

It was almost over, but we had a chance to sing along on What The World Needs Now, with Vince characteristically working up to the song, reminding us love was “the most important thing on this planet” and that “we’re all the result of making love”. The Malvern Town Hall was packed, but we did not sound like Welsh coal miners, as Vince promised. It was fitting to finish with Little Glass of Wine.

A toast to Vince Jones, to his assorted and many musicians, and to Stonnington Jazz.

(Pictures of the performance to follow soon)