14 June 2009

Exclusively for my friends

Tom Vincent and his newly minted trio played for a house concert for family and friends, so the reference to Oscar Peterson and the Exclusively for my friends series is obvious enough. Tom’s a pianist, after all, although in a much broader and fluid and more modern style than Oscar. But the sound in the room was clear and crisp and reminded me of the sound of those records. And it was a fully acoustic outing: baby grand and unamplified double bass with the volume to (mostly) match it with Mark Sutton, who can be quite powerful when he chooses, and Tom who was hugely and dramatically dynamic and often just plain loud.

And it was a wonderful performance. Tom led with a mashup of standards and jazz tunes, mostly unannounced and picked up with stunning facility by Leigh and also by Mark (but then drummers can do that more easily: no chords). There were plenty of Monk tunes, and some soggy standards like Foggy day and All of me, and they played Jitterbug waltz, which is a favourite of mine. There was some modern stuff there, too. Coltrane’s Love Supreme got a toe in with Resolution. These were all mixed together so that I overheard Carl quip “another seque; we must have heard 300 tunes tonight”. An exaggeration, but this was stunning fluidity and playfulness and a readiness to cover the waterfront of jazz history. But the witticism and capability had everyone chuckling as another melody appeared unexpectedly.

And it was not just masses of tunes, but also massive fluidity over all parts of the music: rhythms moved all over the place. Polyrhythms between hands, bass line triplets and delayed lines, drums capably moving with all this. Melodies that were dissonantly sideshifted or restructured lines with the same form but altered intervals and pitches. A pianist noted that Tom has a big hand, so could play big, unusual chords in his left hand, but they were extensions and colours that we were hearing, as well as intervals. Busy and dynamic and expressive and playful. A wonderful night, in from a very cold Canberra night, with an open fire, exclusively for friends.

There was also a free jazz intro from Jono Lake (piano) and Shane Spellman (trumpet) and householder John Wilton sat in on drums for one tune. Sorry, no pics of Jono or Shane. I also caught Leigh and Mark playing with James LeFevre when I was out and about in Manuka the following afternoon. I’ve put in a few pics of that, too. I only heard a tune or two, but it was lively and capable. And Leigh’s parents, Bill and Celeste, were there with a few friends of mine: small world.

It was a fabulous night. Tom Vincent (Hobart-based piano) led a trio with collaborator Leigh Barker (acoustic bass, ex-Canberra, now based in Melbourne) and first-time member, Mark Sutton (drums).


Sue T said...

I would love to have gone to the Tom Vincent night but at the end of a busy week (even retired people are busy!) decided that Minque on Saturday was our better bet. Your review of the Vincent with Barker event makes me realise we missed a great night. Anyhow, it was great to see and hear Leigh on Saturday. It was nice and mellow - though I have to say we spent more time talking to friends than concentrating on the music. (Glad you had a good night out afterwards!)

Tom Vincent said...

Thanks for the review Eric. And thanks for coming along everyone who came.
We'll be back giggin in Canberra in October.
Doing a big Australian Tour.
will post dates very soon on the website:

Richard Scrivener said...

Great review Eric, you really captured the essence of Tom's playing. I was at the gig, beside the fire, and it ROCKED, in an essentially jazz way.