22 September 2008

Folkus (Too much on, 2)

Dirk Zeylmans and Graham Monger seem to have been playing in their band, As Famous as the Moon (AFATM), forever. I catch them at the oddest times. I’ve heard them playing on the sidewalk around Woden. I’ve heard them three times calming the bidders in my street before house auctions. I’ve heard them once at Hippo with Bernie McGann. Dirk works on Bernie’s sax so he seems to take the opportunity to organise a gig when he visits.

AFATM advertises as a smooth jazz trio (tenor, guitar, bass), but their jazz performances usually add a drummer and a piano is also common. Dirk uses lots of capable local players, so the band is strong, and his love of people like Joe Henderson and Gene Ammons promises hard swing on interesting standards and jazz tunes and tasteful playing. This day he started with Homestretch and Blue bossa from Joe Henderson’s Page One album, then into Hank Mobley’s Greasin’ easy, and a series of standards: Have you met Miss Jones, Body & soul, Triste and Straight no chaser. Dirk’s tenor was smooth and lyrical with a wonderful tone. Graham Monger on guitar played swinging, sweet-sounding solos on an authentic jazz Gibson. Hugh Deacon appeared on drums, and showed strong concentration and capable playing. Lachlan Coventry played a jazz bass. I know him more as a guitarist, and his electric bass is certainly influenced by this: fast and fluid and positional and picked. I’ve recently been studying double bass after playing electric for many years, and have been stunned by the difference that the size, the fingering technique and the limited range (without thumb positions) imposes on the playing style and performance. I’ve found my walking lines on electric have changed, and they just seem more true to jazz after time on an acoustic. Lachlan is also taking up acoustic, so it will be interesting to see how his electric playing changes over time. I enjoyed AFATM for the tunes and the era and the playing and the sound.

The Yass High School Stage Band appeared next at Jazz@Folkus, led by their music teacher Dave Greenwood. They ran through a series of nice charts, ending on a high with some lively tunes including Weather Report’s Birdland. The ensemble playing was pretty tight, and this bodes well for their musical future. They are young players, so their individual skills (soloing, intonation) are still developing, but it was a great show, and Birdland just made it for me. Congrats to Daniel and his band.

That said, being young was no limit for the next band. M’or Faz appeared as a quartet and displayed some very strong playing on three jazz-funk standards: Footprints, My funny valentine (mostly played funky) and Summertime (also played funky). Jordan Tarento raised eyebrows when he started the gig with an impressive bass solo, and proceeded to play a very mature and strong funk style. I was stunned by some rapid fire triplet slap. I congratulated him after the gig and he just said it takes lots of practice. Don’t we know! Sam Andrews on tenor was also notable with similarly mature playing that belied his age. The other members were Thomas McLachlan on guitar and Josh Andrews (presumably Sam’s brother) on drums, but pianist Dominic Weiller was absent overseas. Funk can get a bit samey after a while, and I felt that by the end, but the playing was certainly impressive. BTW, Sam is in Year 12, and the others in Year 10: there’s future printed in spades in this outfit.

The day ended with the requisite line of horns for an all in blow on Tenor madness, All blues, Watermelon man and Chameleon. Same old same old, but no problems with everyone knowing the tunes!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Daniel Greenwood? That guy in the photo looks more like DAVE Greenwood to me!