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.
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”.