The radiothon featured an open day at ArtSound’s studios at the Manuka Arts Centre studios on Saturday. There was coffee, grog, snags, politician visits (it being an election campaign), and 5 bands playing live to air from the courtyard amongst switches back to the studio. As always, this was an interesting and very professional day run by the mostly volunteer staff of the station. We are lucky to have such a resource, especially as it’s so knowledgeable and supportive of the jazz scene in Canberra.
I caught three bands of the five: James LeFevre Quintet and Quantum Theory, both from the Jazz School, and Kooky Fandango, made up of amateur players around town.
James LeFevre played a similar set to that at Moruya. Well played, bluesy, entertaining, with a fine collection of players. They play a wonderful arrangement of a piece from Gary Bartz, Eastern Blues. This locates the music: rootsy 70s jazz-funk. Great stuff. It’s a style I love, and one that I reckon is eminently sellable. And the players do it so well. They set up and sustain grooves, but more involving is the way the develop intensity, from quiet and searching to raging solos, then sudden decays to almost subliminal. There’s a drum solo in Eastern Blues which says it all: instruments playing a unison line (common enough) supporting the solo, but arranged so the unison line changes time signatures and intensifies over the solo. The front line of tenor (sometimes baritone) and trom is a nice one, and the rhythm unit of acoustic/electric bass (Kane has a job with frequent changes), Evan’s excellent drums and Ben’s wonderful keyboard fills and choppy funky styles works a treat. A very entertaining and capable band with original arrangements and charts. James LeFevre (tenor, baritone sax) plays with Rob Lee (trombone), Kane Watters (electric, acoustic basses), Ben Foster (keyboard) and Evan Dorrian (drums).