Tag Archives: Zac Hurren Trio

STONNINGTON JAZZ 2010 — DAY 9

ZAC HURREN TRIO at Chapel Off Chapel

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren, Anning and Bates

It would have been a great way to end a festival, but on Friday night there was still one night to go. I chose to break the rule about not switching gigs midstream. Usually it’s hard to acclimatise to a change of venue and leaving in a rush to catch another band can be a big mistake. This time it worked out. But it left me with a burning question: How could Sam Anning have played bass with Zac Hurren (saxophone) and Sam Bates (drums) at the Chapel, and then dash to Malvern Town Hall for a complete change of mood, playing with Joe Chindamo‘s ensemble? I’d have liked to ask him what went on inside his head as he moved from one gig to the next.

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren, Anning and Bates

Anyway, I have no time to beat about the bush, so this is the gist of it: Zac and the two Sams were faaannnnntastic! Absolutely on fire. Brilliant. Hurren said he usually stands by the trees and plays by himself, and that was how he wanted to start. It was a short warm-up solo and then the trio was off and running.

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren and Anning

What was so good about it? It’s still in my head, but I’m not sure I can easily explain. It was cathartic. It was a physical experience. But I don’t want to give the idea that Hurren just blasted away and filled the Chapel with noise, or that Bates smashed and crashed on the drums, or that Anning drove his bass notes remorselessly through the audience. There was an element of that, but all three displayed much more sensitivity than that. They played as a unit and were totally cohesive. The result was primal and managed to penetrate deep into the body and into the soul. Bates displayed great finesse and sensitivity, Hurren and Anning were a tangible force brimming with emotion.

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren, Anning and Bates

They played Hurren’s compositions Joffra, Conveyance (written the night before the funeral of saxophonist and teacher Tony Hobbs ), a newish track the name of which I did not catch, and Mark’s Mansion (written to represent saxophonist Mark Simmonds‘s defence of jazz against the forces of evil). They wanted to play more, but had to stop. I wanted more but had to go. And of course Sam Anning had to slip into the Stonnington stretch limo and wind down for a few minutes before joining Joe Chindamo on stage for the second set at Malvern Town Hall.

 Zac Hurren Trio
Hurren, Anning and Bates

A quick note: The gigs I missed — Ted Vining‘s Impressions and Tina Harrod — deserve mention, but I could not make it. And I’d heard Tina Harrod at Bennetts Lane recently. She was great there, so I’m sure her set was enjoyed by all. On to the town hall …

JOE CHINDAMO’S COEN BROTHERS PROJECT
at Malvern Town Hall

 Chindamo
Joe Chindamo

I can’t do this concert justice either, but a few sentences for now. It was the inaugural performance of the Coen Brothers material, and an album launch for Another Place, Some Other Time. Chindamo has assembled Lucky Oceans on pedal steel guitar, Geoff Hughes on guitars, Kristian Winther on violin, Sam Anning (again) on (yes) acoustic bass, Raj Jayaweera buried behind on drums and Alex Pertout also in the back on percussion.

 Winther
Kristian Winther

 Geoff Hughes
Geoff Hughes

Winther was exquisite on violin, Oceans added something special on pedal steel and Hughes was, as always, most expressive. Chindamo’s piano has the presence and sense of space, as well as a classical feel, to capture and hold us in a moment (or many) of beauty.

 Chindamo, Oceans
Joe Chindamo and Lucky Oceans

 Lucky Oceans
Lucky Oceans

In the seconds before I fall into a coma from lack of sleep, the standouts for me were the theme from Fargo (as interpreted by Chindamo, of course), Man of Constant Sorrow (from O’ Brother Where Art Thou?), Lujon from The Big Lebowski, and the theme from Miller’s Crossing. Later, You Are My Sunshine was divine, with Chindamo on accordion and Oceans on pedal steel. Earlier Oceans played slide guitar on Hotel California (The Big Lebowski), but you had to wait for the familiar melody to drift through.

 Winther
Kristian Winther

After the theme from Blood Simple, Joe played a solo piano encore, Goodnight Sweetheart (I should have known, but had to be told).

 Anning, Winther
Sam Anning and Kristian Winther

It was not my favourite Stonnington venue, but this was a beautiful concert and a fitting tribute to films in which music plays a big part. Chindamo’s take on the Coen Brothers’ film music was entrancing. There was no need for any moving images.

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Radiola — Andrew Robson Trio

CD cover to come

(Lamplight)

THERE’S disorder in the house, as Warren Zevon would put it. Shares are falling, temperatures rising and super suddenly not so. At such times music can express our pain (Scott Tinkler’s solo trumpet, perhaps) or soothe our soul.
Robson’s Trio offers a sublime escape. In its second album with this line-up (composer Robson on saxophones and descant recorder, Steve Elphick on double bass and Hamish Stuart on drums), the trio celebrates the freedom of reeds and devotes space and unhurried time to expressing the depth of bass and drums.
Robson displays the resonance, delicate lyricism and robust soulfulness attributed to tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace, to whom he pays tribute in Big Ben. And his intricate, swinging Lace Work is fitting homage to soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy.
But Robson offers much more than due deference, lovingly exploring variations in melody and tempo with great finesse.

DOWNLOAD: Mata Hari.
FILE BETWEEN: Trio Apoplectic, Zac Hurren Trio

Review by ROGER MITCHELL

Exordium — Zac Hurren Trio

Zac Hurren Exordium

(Jazzhead)

THIS trio debut lives up to its big-name endorsements. In the Sonny Rollins tradition, teaming saxophone with double bass and drums, Exordium (opening of a discourse) lives up to plaudits from Bernie McGann, Dale Barlow and Scott Tinkler. It’s no surprise that Paul Grabowsky — also an exponent of restless, convention-breaking jazz that can be tough and so gentle — adds his praise.

Brisbane bassist Eugene Romaniuk and Felix Bloxom on drums let Hurren, on tenor and soprano sax, hog the limelight on most of his original compositions. Gutsy and laid-back tracks are all engaging.

The short Dector Harvotza is alive and taut, Propa Monkey vivacious and energetic. Bass and drums play off Hurren’s sax in the at-times frantic Birthday Suit, but the mood is intricate, melodic and wistful in Katie’s Song. The final track, After winds into a twisting big sound that is a fitting wrap to this opening discourse.

In short: Trio fires up for an opening salvo that hits the target.

ROGER MITCHELL

Review originally published in Sunday Herald Sun