14 July 2008

Out of electronica

The Austin Benjamin Trio performed from the ArtSound studio last Friday as part of ArtSound’s Friday Night Live series. I had to drop in, so I got a few pics. Otherwise, I listened from home, and the sound was crisp and clear. Well done, ArtSound. They had some teething problems in the opening concerts, but now all is well, and the sound is strong and clear.

The Trio was equally impressive. They talked in the break of listening to electronica and teenage years of heavy metal. Metal? Well, jazz school students often have broad interests. There’s at least one rap outfit with ANU jazz students and students fill in around town for all manner of styles. In this case, I could hear influences of drum’n’bass grooves in the music, with a lovely grand piano strewn over the top giving linear movement. There were a few walking stretches with more bop-like, but harmonically malleable, piano lines and swing, but it was mostly straight 8s and grooves, as is more common in modern outings. That’s not to say it doesn’t have a jazz sensibility, but it’s much more implied than blatant. There were screeches, finger damping on the piano, open drum parts, some free playing, several riff-based tunes, hints of Bad Plus and Debussy. Very nicely played and apparently a group effort. The basic tunes are penned by Austin, but they are massaged and developed by Chris and Evan before finalisation, and even then they seem pretty malleable.

ABT will be launching their CD at the Band Room on 31 July, along with James LeFevre Quintet and their own CD launch. These are two interesting but very different bands, so the night is recommended.

The Austin Benjamin Trio are Austin Benjamin (piano), Chris Pound (bass) and Evan Dorrian (drums).

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