27 October 2008

Reunion of the circle

Michael and Anna returned to Canberra last Friday for an ArtSound Friday Night Live broadcast with friends gathered round. It’s for good reason that the band is called Inner Circle. I was in the studio for the second set, and it was a warm and friendly atmosphere. These guys (I’m including Anna here) have played together in various combinations in the past, and the experience showed in capable, tuneful and vigorous playing over quality original tunes. I found Michael less abandoned and dissonant in his playing than I remembered him, but then I often used to hear him in situations where he could let his hair down. He played some virtuosic solos, with both inventive diatonic playing and diversions off into dissonance. Lovely. Niels played with the tastefulness we’ve come to expect from him, but let go for a frenetic solo on the last tune, the exciting Eighty eight keys to happiness. Bowed strings bring a very different identity to jazz. Anna supplied several intriguing and obviously sensitive tunes to the band, with personal, even socio-political, themes (The journey was about a refugee). I liked this and liked the purposive nature of the bow in this context. Chris and Eric were obviously enjoying the situation, and playing with understanding and direction and openness. This is just a short report to catch up, but this was a welcome if short visit by departed friends and a night to be savoured.

Michael Azzopardi (piano) and Anna Thompson (violin) played with Niels Rosendahl (tenor), Eric Ajaye (bass) and Chris Thwaite (drums).

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