22 April 2011

Calmer than Shanghai

CJ started when I was rediscovering the jazz scene, this time here in Canberra. Some of my first posts were of the Wayne Kelly Trio. I’d first heard Wayne in the 1980s and he impressed me mightily. I drifted off to other interests, but when I returned, Wayne was there playing around town in a wonderful modern trio with capable players – Ben O’Loghlin and Mark Sutton – and was soon to record a CD. Wayne has since been to Macau and Shanghai for 3 years and recently returned. Last night was the first since his return that I’ve heard him playing his non-commercial side, and it’s as satisfying and impressive as ever.

Last night’s trio comprised Wayne with Phill Jenkins and Col Hoorweg. They played both lovely subtle or stretched out versions of Wayne’s original repertoire, including a few new tunes, like the boppy Shanghai taxi driver and a very lovely love song. The bop is the side of Wayne that I know: sometimes lyrical and hard swinging as in his dedication Mr Hank Jones, boppy for the blood-pressure raisers like Shanghai taxi driver and What’s the number, and strains of McCoy Tyner in his King of kings and others. An interesting addition to his repertoire this time around was a love song performed by Angela Lount and Steve Amosa, with male and female verses and a harmonised verse to finish. It had the presence of a musical: the final tender tune that ends a tragedy, like West Side Story’s Somewhere. Touching and quite beautiful; unexpected but much appreciated. Phill and Col did admirable service. Phill always underplays his volume, but he played some nicely challenging ostinatos and some solos that spoke the chords very nicely. Col played with energy and his characteristic varied percussive sounds. I particularly enjoyed a (metal?) pipe that he hit with a stick and damped with his palm. He expanded his palette further for a percussion solo that I found interstingly varied. There were a few sit-ins for the night: singers Angela Lount and Steve Amosa, who I mentioned above, but also Ben O’Loghlin, bassist from the earlier WK Trio. He’s now in Melbourne, and surprisingly still getting out despite very recent parenthood. Ben sat in for two standards, and the old magic was still there: strong sound, driving swings.

It was a small outing but a chummy local get-together, like a house party. Great to see Wayne back in town and I’m still loving his music. Thanks to Wayne. Wayne Kelly (piano) led a trio with Phill Jenkins (bass) and Col Hoorweg (drums). Ben O’Loghlin (bass) sat in for a few tunes, and Angela Lount (vocals) and Steve Amosa (vocals) sang one touching love song.

  • Cyberhalides Jazz Photos by Brian Stewart
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