25 October 2011

Turossing it (Moruya 2011/5)

Moondance was a hit this year as in previous years – they were the popular favourite band at last year’s Moruya, and perhaps other years too. They play a gypsy-styled jazz with professional competence and presence. They had a drummer in the program but none on stage – I guess he couldn’t make it – so the instrumentation was unusual: violin/vocals, soprano sax, guitar and bass. There were lots of smiles, very capable playing on all the instruments and a supportive audience. Bassist John Conley is a friend of my band. I shared a beachhouse with him and was intrigued to hear his stories of years with Galapagos Duck, the renowned and popular Sydney jazz outfit that was the house band at the early Basement. Well played, John. Moondance are Kathy Bluff (violin, vocals), Paul Burjan (sax, flute), Pete Malone (guitar) and John Conley (bass).

Canberra local DJ Gosper was at Moruya this year as a headline band with two members of my band in tow and I caught a few tunes at the Golf Club. DJ is well presented, easy with the audience, considered in performance and with a strong blues influence and approach. This was nice playing and well received by the mainstream audience. DJ Gosper (vocals, harmonica) led the band with Mike Dooley (keys, vocals), Richard Manderson (sax) and Mike Stratford (drums).

Finally, my band. Members of Gossips appeared this year as Sax & the Citizens. We were a quartet with Mike, Richard, Henry Rasmussen and me. Thanks to Henry for helping out given Brenton was not available – nice job done despite little rehearsal, original tunes and few charts. It was a strongly bop and swing set, opening with Moment’s notice, and with several originals by Mike and one each by Richard and me: a balled, a swinger, a bop, an Arabic tune, a latin, a ‘60s modern. I preferred our gig on Friday evening which settled in quite nicely. Our second gig was changed from Sunday to Saturday morning and for several reasons was less relaxed and less satisfying. Mike and I got in a short jam with Reuben, Max and Aidan at the Air Raid later on Saturday. Good on the Festival for that innovation. It gives a sense of involvement and mixes the players a bit and it’s a view of a musician’s real world for the punters. Good idea. Sax & the Citizens were Mike Dooley (piano), Richard Manderson (saxes), Henry Manderson (drums) and Eric Pozza (bass).

I saw one of two other bands in passing and missed many others. But you should always save something for next time. Thus I saw it: an entertaining weekend and an update on the Jazz School. Moruya 2011.

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