14 September 2008

Musos clubbing

The Canberra Musicians Club launched this weekend with a 12 hour gig featuring numerous different musicians and numerous different styles. The weather was warm and sunny (too sunny early on, but more on that later). The Club has been formed so musos can gather to assist each other, eg, it can provide PAs for hire at reasonable rates, and very interestingly, provides legal indemnity for events held under their banner. That really is an interesting concept and should support independent, grass roots events. I expected a folk and indie scene, but there was a decent jazz contingent, thanks to Cam and the Folkus Room crew. My band, Toucani, played one set in the mid afternoon, under a scorching sun that everyone was complaining about.

I heard a mixture of bands over the afternoon, but couldn’t stay for the evening. Black Hat Band is a blues outfit including a mate from work, Dave Grey (guitar/vocals). The band featured several of the Kooky Fandango crew who were to appear later in the day. Kooky Fandango are stalwarts playing a smooth, sweet jazz style, with an interesting crystal clear chordal role for Peter Barta on his 6-string Alembic Series 1 (no guitar here). Otherwise, it’s Cameron Smith (trumpet), Tom Fell (alto sax), Nathan Sciberras (tenor and baritone saxes), Mario Gordon (congas) and led by singer Courtney Stark. My Toucani played a set of 4 originals (2 by Daniel, 2 by Eric) along with Sam River’s beautiful ballad, Beatrice, and Wayne Shorter’s hard bop Prince of Darkness. Mark Body (drums) filled in given the absence of Brenton, and played with Daniel Wild (piano), John Baczynski (tenor) and Eric Pozza (bass). I really enjoyed this gig, despite the radiant heat. We played fairly relaxed and expansively, I think with the assistance of a comfortable, informal atmosphere, and there was a double bass player doing the mix, so I could trust his work. And in the open air you never have balance problems: you can always hear, although it can be a bit thin at times. Most enjoyed.

Then a lovely cool jazz set by the Joseph Taylor Quintet. Joseph Taylor (tenor) commonly plays with Corey Booth (trumpet) and John Cohen (piano) and was joined for this gig by Bill Williams (bass) and Chris Thwaites (drums). Truly a lovely, cool set, harking back to Miles in the 50s, with the same instrumentation, some of the same tunes, and a similar feel and approach. I love a good cool set when I hear it, and they performed it with panache. Tunes included some originals, but also All of you and Wayne Shorter’s Backstage Sally. Great stuff.

To finish my day off, I finally caught up with Los Chavos. They are a lively latin band with some very good players and an entertaining front man, and they deserved the audience which they got: young, even very young (as in children), happy and dancing. Very enjoyable, tight, and capable. I also caught the Cashews in the underpass near Albert Hall for one of their famed guerilla gigs, but only for a few minutes. Well done, and entertaining, but not really my style.

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