1 April 2009

Hardbopping

Trinity presented another interstate, even international, artist last night when Craig Walters played with a band of locals. I understand Craig is a New Zealander, now resident in Sydney. He played with Miro, Andy C, Bill and Evan for two great sets of mostly original tunes. Craig himself sounded bluesy and tonal in the 50s hardbopper style, with strong and fluid arpeggiated lines and lovely clear statements of the underlying harmonies. His tunes were similar, again blues-influenced progressions, a gospel tune and a head over rhythm changes. It was a strong and effective and fluent straight-ahead style that I heard, and I liked it lots. The others in the band offered something a bit different. Miro, of course, with his fast scalar runs to high notes and some blissful harmonies that he threw in against the heads, especially on his own tunes. But he was also playing a similar, blues-bop style. Andy was perhaps the most different in style, with long fluid runs, or chords or dissonant, truncated lines which he played in contrast, even opposition, to the rest of the band. He’s a product of a much more recent era. Evan and Bill just provided superbly capable and appropriate playing throughout, and I sat in wonder at a few of the solos. I particularly noted Bill on his solo against rhythm changes at the end of the first set, and also several solos by Evan in the second set, if I remember right, against those rhythmically infectious Wanderlust tunes.

The band played mostly originals. Three by Craig mentioned above and two Wanderlust tunes from Miro, Bronte Café and For Woody and two originals by Andy which were impressive and memorable efforts: Rapt and Still asleep. They also played two standards: a lively Stella by starlight, and that most beautiful and lyrical You don’t know what love is.

So, a well rounded and satisfying concert from wonderfully capable musicians spread over the generations. Craig Walters (tenor sax) led the quintet with Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet, flugelhorn), Andy Campbell (guitar), Bill Williams (bass), Evan Dorrian (drums).

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