16 August 2009

RIP Minque

Rachael, Lachlan and James played the final Minque gig yesterday. I’ll miss the Minque Saturday afternoon gigs. It’s local for me, and was a nice way to while away an afternoon. But no more. Minque always seemed to me to be uninviting, at least for afternoon audiences: dark, heavy doors, TVs. I’d see numerous people peeking in at the jazz, but few entered. It’s got the vibe of a night-time venue for DJs and R&B and drinks. But it was pleasant enough inside, and it supported jazz on weekend afternoons and that was very good, so I’ll miss it.

It was a relaxed and gentle gig, and sadly lacking in an audience for the wake. Lachlan was the core of the band, concurrently playing both simple and effective bass lines and lithe chords on guitar. Clear and reliable and indispensable. Rachael and James toyed over this base. Rachael sang fluent and high. She stunned me with her improvised melody lines over Have you met Miss Jones, taking the written line and embellishing it freely and richly. This is jazz singing to me: richly improvised throughout. There was at least on scat solo, too, but I prefer the improvised melodies. James also improvised with panache. I’ve watched him over his years at the School, and it’s impressive to see/hear the change. James has just finished his Honours year. I’ve noticed recently that the senior students talk of the opportunity for more practice after their courses. Perhaps it’s a matter of the more you know, the more you know there is to know. Whatever, James is playing very satisfying and quite adventurous solos in a comfortable spot between consonant mainstream and dissonant modern. It’s an eminently listenable place to be, and I enjoy it immensely. I caught about half the gig, and the tunes were from the popular standards repertoire: The nearness of you, Secret love, Doodlin’, Have you met Miss Jones, I’ve never been in love before, Dindi, Stella by starlight. All common enough and all impressive tunes with a pedigree.

So, RIP Minque. It was good while it lasted. Rachael Thoms (vocals) sang with Lachlan Coventry (guitar) and James LeFevre (tenor).

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