Tag Archives: Stonnington Jazz

STONNINGTON PAYS TRIBUTE

Andrea Keller and Andrew Robson

Andrea Keller and Andrew Robson in The Komeda Project at Bennetts Lane

PREVIEW

Andrea Keller and Miroslav Bukovsky Octet, The Komeda Project, Chapel Off Chapel, Friday 15 May, 7.50pm, $25 – $30

LAST night one of my favourite festivals of improvised music was launched at Malvern Town Hall with a grab bag of acts including Women of Soul, Paul Williamson’s Hammond Jazz Party and the Compton Organ Exhibition.

Sadly, the familiar red, black and white program for the 10-year anniversary of this all-Australian jazz festival is missing the familiar face of its artistic director for many years, Adrian Jackson.

Yet the guiding hand of Jackson, which has been especially valued for bringing together unusual and spectacularly successful combinations of artists at Stonnington’s festival and over the years at Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, is still evident in at least one concert this year.

Jackson had booked Andrea Keller and Miroslav Bukovsky to  present The Komeda Project at Stonnington well before he handed over the reins to program director Darcy Condon — booker for Sydney venues The Hopetoun Hotel and The Annandale Hotel during their glory days in the early 1990s, part of the team that established The Metro on George Street and more recently part of the team organising Byron Bay’s Splendour In the Grass festival.

With an ensemble of eight brilliant Australian contemporary musicians, Keller and Bukovsky in December last year at Bennetts Lane Jazz Lab treated us to a spectacularly creative response to, and reinterpretation of, some music of Polish film music composer and jazz pianist Krzysztof Komeda. The two sets were quite different, reflecting Keller and Bukovsky’s different takes on Komeda’s music.

If you have the chance to get to anything on the program at this year’s Stonnington festival, do not miss this chance — tonight, 15 May at 7.50pm at Chapel Off Chapel — to be moved and warmed by the creativity of Canberra trumpet player/composer/improviser Bukovsky and Melbourne’s pianist/composer/improvisor Andrea Keller along with the Stonnington Youth Jazz Initiative.

The program does not list musicians in the line-up, but I assume James Greening will be in town to add his charm, wit and trombone work to die for. And it is to be hoped that Erkki Veltheim will be in the octet.

To whet the appetite, here are a few images from the Bennetts Lane performance of The Komeda Project. I am sorry that work prevents me from being there tonight for what was a musical highlight for me in its earlier incarnation.

ROGER MITCHELL

The Komeda Project at Bennetts Lane

The Komeda Project at Bennetts Lane

Andrew Robson and Miroslav Bukowsky

Andrea Keller, Andrew Robson and Miroslav Bukovsky

Erkki Veltheim

Erkki Veltheim

The Komeda Project

The Komeda Project

James Greening

Miroslav Bukovsky and James Greening

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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

MUCH-LOVED STANDARDS

Doug and Les

Stonnington stalwarts: Doug and Les finally take a seat in the crowd.

If you recognise these two faces, it’s because Doug and Les have long been making a big contribution to Stonnington Jazz over the years, whether taking tickets on the door at Malvern Town Hall and Chapel Off Chapel or driving artists to and from these venues.

These capable lads know and love the music. They do their work voluntarily.

In the picture above, they are seen at the final festival gig for 2014 at Chapel Off Chapel, taking the weight off after many nights of duty.

It’s always great to see these guys at Stonnington Jazz. They help make patrons feel welcome at this friendly and relaxed festival.

ROGER MITCHELL