17 August 2008

Slower cooking, many cooks

Joe Lloyd’s Quartet appeared as host band at a very busy Jazz@Folkus jam session this weekend. Busy with an array of different players, and sadly even a band that didn’t make it on. Very honourable of Cam who runs the show, because it was his band that missed out. The turnout was nothing special this week, so come to support Folkus so we maintain this open session.

Joe set the scene with a wonderful set that took us back to the early 60s and shades of Coltrane through a series of original compositions. Joe presented three movements of a suite he is writing, and which we may expect to hear recorded sometime next year, as well as Slow cooker, a response to the John Mackey tune, Pressure cooker. I could hear Trane in Joe’s phrasing and sense of dissonance, but apparently his major influence is Kenny Garrett. Luke accompanied with a matching style of the era: I heard phrasing and fourth chords reminiscent of McCoy Tyner, so the image was set. Hannah was strong on bass lines and steady rhythms, and even led with some melodic playing at one time, and joined Luke for some interesting duo passages. Matt was solid and responsive and occasionally explosive. He obviously enjoyed these outbursts, and I noticed several smiles on his face with the more brash crashes. Matt also provided two tunes which fitted neatly in style and presence with Joe’s, one called River and the other called Fleeting. Truly an agreeable set, and one which set a demanding level of performance for others to match.

Round Midnight followed. RM are a pair of players from Bateman’s Bay: Ian (missed his surname) on guitar, and Keith Joliffe on bass. I know Keith through emails as one of the organising committee for the Moruya Jazz Festival. RM played a set of jazz and popular standards with midi accompaniment. Nice to have out of town visitors.

Anton Wurzer followed with three tunes. Anton is a wonderfully competent piano accordion player. Now, that’s not an instrument you expect at a jazz session, but Anton has been a student at the Jazz school, and plays a truly solid, inventive, occasionally out style of playing. There’s always the hint of bandenonean and French street scapes, and the tonality of a piano accordion seems a bit thin to me, but he plays fabulously rich interpretations of the standards repertoire with rock solid rhythms, and even sat in comfortably on a Wayne Shorter blow later in the day. Anton is a powerful, solid, inventive player, even if on a jazz instrument of less common stature. Check him out. Highly recommended!

My jazz band Toucani got to present four tunes, all originals. We played pretty well, and better than last time, but still can develop. But I’m proud that we can do whole sets of original compositions of some interest and complexity. Daniel wrote two: a solid post-bop piece, That call, and straight eight, Bill Evans style, Maxim. I debuted a piece which is to be played very tongue in cheek, Snakes alive, and we played a favourite of mine in 5/4, Fifty four. All a bit rushed and unsettled, but OK.

The day ended with a short blow. Joe Lloyd and crew were the mainstay for a blues with Anton. Next was Blue bossa with Hugh Deacon sitting in on drums, Daniel Wild on piano, and Eric Pozza playing acoustic bass (my first public performance on the big bass ... thanks again, Hannah). Next I suggested Wayne Shorter’s Prince of darkness, and it went off a fast post-bop treat. To end, Hannah and Luke returned for a final tune.

It was a pleasant outing with some very interesting music at times, and a great range of styles. Get along, and support Jazz@Folkus on the third Saturday of each month. Free for musos.

Joe Lloyd Quartet comprised Joe Lloyd (alto sax), Luke Sweeting (piano), Hannah James (bass), Matt Sykes (drums). Round Midnight comprised Ian … (guitar) and Keith Joliffe (bass). Anton Wurzer played piano accordian. Toucani comprised John Baczinski (tenor sax), Daniel Wild (Piano), Eric Pozza (bass) and Brenton Holmes (drums). Hugh Deacon sat in on the jam.

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