11 August 2011

Our NYC moment

Miro suggested that last week was our New York week. There was certainly a lot of jazz on offer. The main offering is the Capital Jazz Project. CJP was a festival arranged by Street Theatre and the ANU Jazz School with two venues and running for most of 9 nights and two weekends. But in addition we had Ilmiliekki visiting at the Finnish Embassy, The Prophets at the Gods, and Roil at the Loft.

CJP was a wonderful event with lots of local and visiting musicians including two internationals. The venue was the Street Theatre, with its smallish but comfortable, formally raked, proscenium-arched theatre (Street 1) and its smaller, more intimate workshop space (Street 2). They are both comfortable and provided with very good sound systems, but I had a preference for Street 2, the small workshop space decked out with the band on one long side, the audience littered around at Parisian café tables, with luscious curtains and Viennese mirrors. It was nicely decadent but it was also fairly small and regularly sold out. I missed several gigs earlier in the week due to sell-outs then got slipped in when Zoe was also sold out. There seemed to be a lot of new faces, which is good for jazz but obviously not so good for regulars who expect to arrive 5-minutes before a gig and get a ticket. There was also quite a buzz in the press. I saw several reviews in the Canberra Times for CJP events (even two on one day), it got a mention on ABC national radio and presumably on ABC666, and I saw it mentioned in Extempore and BMA. The CJP program was not concentrated enough for visitors but too concentrated for people with day jobs, so I see it as essentially a local jazz series. But what a great series and what an intensive week.

As for acts, I missed two gigs early in the week due to sellouts. I caught The Prophets at Geoff Page’s Gods series on Tuesday (I had a season ticket). I missed the circus act and the Sirens (once again - third time unlucky) and Ilmiliekki on Wednesday due to a family birthday. (I got a mate to report on Ilmiliekki for CJ). I gave myself a night off on Thursday, so I missed two favourites: Wanderlust and Roil. I’d booked for the internationals, Bill Cunliffe and John Riley, on Friday and Saturday nights, and they were excellent. I also caught Zoe’s Buttercups Friday late through the grace of management when it was also sold out. I had a gig on Sunday afternoon. So I caught a fair bit and missed a lot but was still busy. I’ll be in NYC soon for a visit and I expect to have the same problem.

Congratulations to ANUSM and Street Theatre. I hope CJP appears again next year. It was an exhilarating week. I’ll just have to remember to make bookings.

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