Well, Wangaratta Jazz & Blues is being launched tonight in Wangaratta, but Ausjazz can bring you the bones of the program as artistic director Adrian Jackson is telling the event’s home town denizens what’s in store.
As predicted by Ausjazz blog, American trombonist Josh Roseman is the headline international artist, performing in two concerts with New York band members Australian expatriate pianist Barney McAll, drummer Ted Poor and multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum on tenor sax, keyboard and percussion. The Josh Roseman Unit has explored “progressive funk, electro and jazz”, and the composer has been described as having “vision” and someone who “plays ideas”.
At a media briefing, Jackson revealed that Australian pianist, composer and festival director Paul Grabowsky heard Roseman in New York last year and said he’d like to do something with the young trombonist/composer and the Australian Art Orchestra. That will happen, with Roseman bringing some of his compositions for a 14-piece AAO to explore.
As well, Barney McAll will unveil a new suite in a premiere performance with two pianos (B. McAll and Andrea Keller), vibraphone and a 16-voice choir led by Gian Slater, who Melburnians will recall for her brilliant commission concert at BMW Edge for the Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival. This should be a real highlight.
Apfelbaum will also perform a solo piano concert.
Keeping the expatriate spirit going, Malaysian-born bassist Linda Oh, who grew up in Perth and has since moved to New York, will bring a quartet to Wangaratta to celebrate the launch of her second album. Her line-up has Fabian Almazan on piano, but differs from that on the album, with Sam Sadigursky on tenor sax and Kendrick Scott on drums. Linda Oh featured in April’s DownBeat magazine.
Another expatriate, pianist composer Walter Lampe, will travel from Amsterdam — his home of 20 years — to perform in a trio. I believe Lampe was in Sydney early this year, playing at 505 with Sydney bassist Jonathan Zwartz and former Melburnian, drummer Danny Fischer, but the line-up for Wangaratta will be Zwartz and James Hauptmann on drums.
In a demonstration of just how good Adrian Jackson is at picking up on interesting new combinations, Oh will perform with Gian Slater in a concert of duets for bass and vocals. Jackson had the idea when he heard them together at Bennetts Lane during a recent concert with another expatriate, saxophonist Jacam Manricks.
Cuban pianist Almazan, now living in America, has toured the US, South America, Asia and Europe with Terence Blanchard and will come to Wangaratta direct from the release of his first album at the Village Vanguard. Almazan will play with Linda Oh on bass and Rodney Kendrick on drums.
Denis Colin (bass clarinet) from France and Adam Simmons (saxophones etc.) from Australia will join Benjamin Moussay on keyboards and Chander Sardjoe on drums to celebrate their collaboration as La Societe des Antipodes.
Headline artist for the blues marquee will be American singer/guitarist Jimmy D Lane, son of Chicago blues great Jimmy Rogers (it’s a stage name). Adrian Jackson said Jimmy D., who grew up with Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf as regular guests in his house, and listening to Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, is making his first visit to Australia.
Others on the blues stage will include the consistently and quietly brilliant Collard Greens & Gravy, Jim Conway’s Big Wheel and Blue Heat. But a blues gig bound to be a huge hit will be saxophonist Paul Williamson’s Hammond Blues Revue, in which Williamson’s usual Hammond Combo line-up will be joined by guests Chris Wilson, Shannon Bourne, vocalist Ella Thompson (who sang at Wangaratta when she was 15) and James Black. Thompson has emerged through the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society’s Youth in Blues program, which helps young artists.
Luckily for anyone who has heard Paul Williamson’s Hammond Combo at Stonnington Jazz (or the Rainbow Hotel), with brilliant Hammond B3 organist Tim Neal and drummer Mike Jordan, the combo will also play a concert in the jazz program. Don’t confuse this with trumpeter Paul Williamson‘s Inside Out (with Marc Hannaford on piano, Sam Zerna on double bass and James McLean on drums), which will be very different. Both gigs are sure to be hits.
A later post will cover other festival highlights, such as a new Sandy Evans suite and her duets with Paul Grabowsky, what Allan Browne will get up to with Elliott Dalgleish, and who’s going to judge the National Jazz Awards.