Tag Archives: Sam Zerna

IF ON A SUMMER EVE AN ENSEMBLE

PREVIEW: Network of Lines album launch, Melbourne Recital Centre’s Salon, 6pm Tuesday 11 February

Tilman Robinson trombone/laptop, Peter Knight trumpet/laptop, Callum G’Froerer trumpet, Erkki Veltheim violin, Judith Hamann cello, Brett Thompson guitar/banjo, Berish Bilander piano, Sam Zerna bass, Hugh Harvey drums. Additional cello Melanie Robinson, additional percussion Joe Talia, Josh Barber and Tilman Robinson

Tilman Robinson

If On a Winter Night a Traveller in December 2012

It’s very late to post about a performance the day before it’s taking place, but tomorrow’s recital in the Salon deserves attention. I’ll be working and can’t be there, but I highly recommend that anyone able to make it to the launch of this album should go.

Network of Lines is Tilman Robinson‘s debut album performed by a nine piece electro-acoustic ensemble of Melbourne musicians. Written in response to the Italo Calvino novel If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller, the piece derives its form from the novel’s distinctive narrative structure.

Tilman Robinson MJFF commission

If On a Winter Night a Traveller May 2012

The work was commissioned by the Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival and demonstrates again how important that festival’s commissions have been in adding substantial compositions to the Melbourne jazz repertoire. 

Tilman Robinson MJFF commission

If On a Winter Night a Traveller May 2012

As these images record, the work has been performed previously twice — first on 13 May 2012 at Northcote Town Hall as part of the MJFF and second on 4 December the same year in Abbotsford.

Tilman Robinson MJFF commission

If On a Winter Night a Traveller May 2012

On both occasions the performances were intricately constructed and exquisitely executed, demonstrating the talents of the ensemble members and the care Tilman Robinson had taken in constructing the piece.

Tilman Robinson MJFF commission

If On a Winter Night a Traveller May 2012

Xani Kolac was on violin during these outings. Erkki Veltheim is featured on that instrument in the recording.

Tilman Robinson MJFF commission

If On a Winter Night a Traveller May 2012

Tilman Robinson MJFF commission

If On a Winter Night a Traveller May 2012

The work is adventurous, exploring a a range of textures, timbres and effects, including laptop work by Peter Knight and Tilman Robinson.

Tilman Robinson

If On a Winter Night a Traveller December 2012

The moods created are diverse. There are slow, dreamy parts, as well as classical and hymn-like interludes, passages of building tension and sudden, dramatic outbursts.

Tilman Robinson

If On a Winter Night a Traveller December 2012

There are sweeping vistas. There is gradual fragmentation.

Tilman Robinson

If On a Winter Night a Traveller December 2012

There are percussive nibblings, pizzicato incursions and wailing sirens from the strings. Horns — trombone, trumpet and flugelhorn — are resplendent, then muted, then soaring. Notes are bent. Drums break in, break out.

The album closes with Robinson’s arrangement of Sean O’Neill’s composition What Story Down There Awaits Its End? It is a fitting end to the journey.

The Salon at MRC is an ideal room for this album launch. I am sorry to be missing it.

ROGER MITCHELL

Tilman Robinson

If On a Winter Night a Traveller December 2012

Network of Lines will be launched at the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Salon at 6pm on Tuesday 11th February ($30/$25). Tickets are now available through the Recital Centre’s website.

Network of Lines is also available through theListen/Hear Collective.

Miriam Zolin of Extemporé/AustralianJazz.net has posted an interview about this work and its inception.

Melbourne musician Don Jordan has written a review.

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PETER KNIGHT SOLO / MOTION

Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival heads west for a double bill at Dancing Dog Cafe/Bar, Thursday, May 5, 2011

Two MJFF festival outings this year were unprecedented — not because of their content but rather their location. Instead of being held in the central city area or to the north, in Brunswick or Northcote, these gigs were in Footscray, at the popular Dancing Dog Cafe and Bar. It is a great space for small ensemble performances, so it was a pity that not too many of the people who often bemoan the absence of live music venues out west managed to make it out on the night. Clearly some work needs to be done via the local networks.

(The second way out west gig was on Saturday, with percussionist Nat Grant and Kewti, but more of that when time permits.)

Peter Knight Solo — “Allotrope”

Peter Knight solo, with laptop

Peter Knight solo, with laptop

Some chemical elements can exist in two or more different forms, known as allotropes. I’m assuming this ability to assume varied forms is the reason for trumpeter and composer Peter Knight — best known for his role in the popular and creative band Way Out West — chose to name his solo performances with that term. He uses a program on his laptop called Ableton Live, which he uses to process live input — as he puts it, for “live sampling and processing of micro sound worlds created using the trumpet”.

As can be imagined, it is a totally different performance each time and quite another thing altogether from hearing PK on trumpet in a band. Yet there are echoes of the gigs at the Charles Street Bar (now Touks restaurant) in Seddon many years ago, when PK played some mesmerising small group improvisations with Lucas Michailidis on guitar and Frank Di Sario on bass.

Knight’s set was fairly short and consisted of an evolving soundscape best listened to, IMHO, with eyes closed.

Motion: Andrew Brooks saxophones, Berish Bilander Nord, Sam Zerna bass, Hugh Harvey drums, Brett Thompson guitar

Motion at the Dancing Dog

Motion at the Dancing Dog

This set was a real highlight of the MJFF for me and it is a great pity that a larger audience was not there to hear these pieces. The quintet played some new material and definitely whet my appetite for the album that will emerge from a week’s recording session at Allan Eaton Studios in St Kilda.

Andrew Brooks

Andrew Brooks

They played Liberty Stole My Shoes, Morsel, Both Hands, Blank (ie unnamed), New Nuts (they were eating cashews and almonds at the recording session), Jigsaw and Little Things. Peter Knight on trumpet and laptop sat in for the last two, making a contribution that seemed to suit admirably.

Berish Bilander

Berish Bilander

I reviewed Motion’s album Presence in August 2010, referring to “expressive ballads … augmented by passages of quiet strength and slow-built tension, unexpected turns and robust, piano-driven rhythm. At the Dancing Dog I felt variously that the music was surreal, mesmerising and trance-like, with the transitions having that prized fluidity that avoids any feeling of obligatory soloing or virtuosic excursions.

Sam Zerna

Sam Zerna

In particular I loved the level of concentration in the band, evident throughout but particularly striking in the final piece, Little Things, when the interaction between Sam Zerna on bass and Berish Bilander on Nord was tangible and captivating.

Hugh Harvey

Hugh Harvey

I think these pictures help to tell the story of this ensemble and this outing. The musicians, all of them displaying excellent musicianship, seemed to be utterly immersed in their journey. Motion is a band to catch up with when you can, particularly as Brooks is heading to Berlin in the months ahead.

I look forward to the new recording.

Plaudits to Peter Knight for pushing the cause of live music  from the Fringe out west. May it continue.

Brett Thompson

Brett Thompson

IN CAHOOTS — INSIDE OUT

CD REVIEW

In Cahoots

4 stars

MANY of the pieces on Paul Williamson’s seventh album as leader were conceived while he was based in Ireland, but don’t expect them to evoke rolling green hills.

The strength of purpose in this outing comes as no surprise given the trumpeter’s five vigorous quintet albums.

In Cahoots is propelled compellingly by Marc Hannaford (piano), Sam Zerna (double bass) and James McLean (drums).

Hannaford’s variations, mastery and elegance perfectly match the moods of the horn — its mellow musings, larrikin playfulness and shimmying, soaring and blazing sinuosity — while Zerna underpins the piano’s drive.

It’s gripping and enthralling to hear Inside Out colluding, collaborating and conspiring on In Cahoots.

File between: Jason Moran, Scott Tinkler

Download: Shop and Gargle, Silent Disco

ROGER MITCHELL

This review appeared in the Play liftout of Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun on May 1, 2011