29 August 2011

Shipshape 2

Ignacio Long was the Argentinean bassist with the show band. The show band read the charts and backed the dancers in the theatrical presentations. We saw Piano man and I’ve got the music in me, both variety collections of pop songs. Great songs, impressive costumes, professional dancers, but inane entertainment. Totally as expected and we enjoyed it immensely. (Ships are just floating resorts and none too intellectual, so you may as well go with the flow). But Ignacio was a nice player. I caught him in a guitar duo on fretless Jazz bass, and his grooves were steady and percussive and his solos were nicely melodic. He played a 5-string Ibanez in the Stage band. No surprise that he’s a graduate from Berklee. Ignacio was mostly playing electric on board and was nice enough to lend me his double bass for a few days to run a few scales. Many thanks.

Ignacio was playing with Australian trumpeter Gordon Dedman in the stage band, and also in their incarnation as the Big Band / Orchestra. I caught the Big Band playing arranged swing (Basie, Goodman, show tunes) in one bar, and the Orchestra playing Dixie and dance sets the next day. Gordon was on leave from the Australian Army Band (can you believe it!) and also plays with James Morrison’s Swing Street and has often played around Canberra (small world). I also said a few words to Joe Barna, the drummer. He’s from NYC and his teacher is John Riley who recently visited Canberra (smaller world still). The full band was Bill Hamilton (trombone), William Todd IV (saxes, flute, clarinet), Ignacio Long (bass), Joe Barna (drums), Gordon Dedman (trumpet, flugel) and Steve Lee (piano, band leader).

Sol Provider was one of the dance bands. It was a quintet of two female vocalists with keys, drums and bass. The players were from Ghana and I think one singer was from South Africa. Nicely gathered sets that merged latin and country and rock’n’roll and disco, and broke styles with neat ballads and waltzes. This was my old 60/40 entertainment with a lively beat and joyous presentation. The two women harmonised nicely and the instrumental trio was surprisingly full with keys doing horn parts aptly reminiscent of the originals and drums and bass enjoying busy grooves. The band comprised Cleveland White (drums, band leader), Rhona Gravesande (vocals), Nancy Osborne (vocals), Remo Bowen (bass) and David John (keys). I dug this band.

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