25 June 2008

Old Canberra out

It’s been a string of opportunities to hear Wayne Kelly before his departure. The last was Sunday afternoon at the Old Canberra Inn. The Inn is mainly a blues venue, but it’s relaxed and genuinely old with its timber slab walls, so good for a get-together of jazzers as well as an easy-going jam session. Wayne had been inviting people to this farewell session so there were lots of friends to join in, some unusual combinations to form, and some new names to meet.

The host band was Wayne with James Luke and Wayne’s brother Gavin on drums. James was playing his usual busy, playful style across a range of musical forms. Great playing from a local bass identity. Wayne was similarly spirited as he worked his way through blues and jazz and funky rhythms. Gavin played a laid back blues style and was obviously enjoying the outing. John Mackey and trumpeter Dan McLean sat in, along with Fedoran vocalist Angela Lount. A later combination took names from the local blues stable. Gaye Reid led a band with James Luke, Chris Thwaite on drums, Leo Joseph on piano and Chris Tomasyk on blues harp. There were several pianists there on the day who might take some of the work passed on by Wayne. Paul dal Broi didn’t play, but John Black was about to get up as I left (“too drunk to play, but not drunk enough to know it”). I understand my mate Daniel Wild got in a few choruses on piano before I arrived, too.

I got the call from James Luke to sit in, so got to play a few tunes with John Mackey, Gavin Kelly, Jim Latta and Wayne. It was solid swing and I was adjusting to a different instrument, but I played OK and got in one solo which was a bit extravagant (not inappropriate for such a session). Off to the side, I could hear a cavalcade of notes from John working his way through (pre-)Coltrane changes on the bridge of Have you met Miss Jones. Good fun.

Niels Rosendahl was there too, although sadly without his sax. He’s just recently returned from London. Such is life; we come and we go, I guess.

It was a relaxed and entertaining outing for lots of the jazz scene around town. Much enjoyed. Wayne’s not off for few more weeks, so maybe you’ll catch him somewhere around town before then. Report your sightings to CJ :->

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