23 June 2008

Support Jazz @ Folkus

It was a poor showing at the Folkus jam session this month, despite having James LeFevre’s interesting and involving band as host. Folkus will need more interest and support if it’s not to go the way of the sadly missed White Eagle. So, form your jamming groups and come along. Perhaps try to organise a jam band for an upcoming session using CJ on Facebook. Whatever, get along and support this initiative.

I arrived late, so missed most of James’ set. What I heard was worldly, relaxed and inventive. Kane was missing on bass, so Ben had a doubly demanding job having to cover the bass lines on piano, but even so it was comfortable and capable. The band will be playing for JazzGroove in the next few months, and they’ve described themselves thus: “original material drawing upon a smorgasbord of influences encompassing Jazz, Dance, Blues, Funk, Latin, Hip Hop and gypsy music of the Balkans … characterised by its contrast of intricate, extended arrangements with open, loose blowing sections”. Nicely put. No wonder I like it.

Kooky Fandango also did a short set. They impress me as having a pure, light, precise tonality. Their music is a mix of jazz and latin, and even some blues at times, and is precise and flowing and open. Peter plays a hugely clear tone on his 6-string Alembic (Series 1, no less!), and even takes on a guitar-like accompaniment role at times, and I think that’s part of the open sound. They play a sweet and pleasant, but grooving and interesting music; just perfect with white wines on a warm Sunday afternoon.

I got to play a few tunes, initially with James’ band, then with the addition of the horns from Kooky Fandango and a nice bongo player for a solo and some additional rhythmic complexity. It’s easy to play with such trained players; it all just falls together. I especially enjoyed Evan Dorrian on drums. He offered smiles of encouragement along with some very smooth drum solos that were very clear expressions of the underlying tunes. I also noticed how James worked as a leader. Having a leader can really pull things together. He’d just casually lean over and say a few words like “sit on that”, and the form of the piece just fell into place. Nice one.

I think the next session will have original music from Dan MacLean and I’m hoping for my Toucani to be there for a short set. Looking forward to it already. Get out and support Jazz @ Folkus.

Jazz at Folkus jams are held the third Saturday every month, 2-5pm. Entry free for players; otherwise $12/$10. Folkus Room, Serbian Club, Mawson. Queries contact Cameron Smith 0422 842 605

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