14 July 2006

Three apoplectic jazzers

Trio Apoplectic played last night for the inaugural monthly concert and jam organised by Jazz School students at the Polish White Eagle Club. TA are a young Sydney band, comprising Dave Jackson (alto sax), Abel Cross (acoustic bass) and Alex Masso (drums).

They played two sets of modern acoustic jazz comprising 50/50 interesting standards and originals. I heard it as post-bop, but perhaps other descriptions are apt. Non-originals included tunes by Mal Waldron, Tony Gorman, Thelonius Monk (BooBoo’s birthday), Ellington (Sonnet for Sister Kate/Coco) and the standard The Blue Room (Rogers & Hart?). The originals included “Details of how to get Apoplectic on your licence plate” (no other band is likely to use that title!) and the hard bop tune Dynamite which finished the night on a high.

This is a chordless trio, so there’s a open sound, which lets you hear each instrument clearly. It also demands that the harmonies are well defined by the bass and sax, and they were. I love this format, especially because I can so easily make out the bass lines which can be lost in more full orchestrations. I loved Abel’s excellent, lively and communicative bass playing. He was very comfortable when walking and in freer support roles, and he played great solos. He also had a satisfying woody sound, and a beautiful looking bass of a rich mahogany-coloured timber with strong grain patterns; lovely. Dave played thoughtful solos, with lots of clear and well-maintained pattern work and nice structure. He seemed deeply involved when he was playing, and showed a real relationship to the tune at hand. Alex supported, with close interaction with Abel, and increasingly frequent solos (mainly trading 8s, but one or two full solos later in the night).

I thoroughly enjoyed the playing, and the small crowd obviously did too. It’s great to see more Sydney players coming down, and the opportunity for Canberrans to get to know the products of the venerable jazz course at the Sydney Conservatorium.

Thanks to TA's press release for the mono pic above.

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