2 December 2011

Best way to end the term 1

I only catch The Phoenix and TAFE when I see something of particular interest but I usually enjoy it when I do. The music course at Canberra Institute Of Technology (CIT) had an end-of-year concert where the faculty played with students performing mostly original tunes by the students. My mate mike is doing some composition studies and he was presenting two tunes. Mike’s were more complex, filmic sounding tunes. One lovely ballad, Soliloquy, that we’ve played in Gossips, and a complex structured piece in 7/4 with various time changes. The rest of the night was not like that. It was more rock and blues and pop, which I can only enjoy, and then the ending. More on that later.

So who were the performers? The faculty was a great little band. I’m sure the rehearsals would not have been extensive. I know that they had just a short time with Mike’s tunes and they were obviously the most complex and Greg was preparing by reading through dots in the break. Many of the other tunes were the daily grind for players with this experience and they were played with eminently solid grooves, plenty of colour and some great solos. James Luke was solid and wonderfully authoritative and often playful on a 6-string Modulus bass with classic SWR/4x10 presence. This was a delightfully varied performance of chords, slaps, pops, thumbs, fingerfunk over 24-frets and six strings but always with an unrelenting groove in mind. Dan McLean was fabulous on trumpet. He used mute on one ballad and a rotary-valved flugelhorn on another, but it was mostly hugely blues-inflected, growly trumpet. This was really strong playing in an idiom that doesn’t see lots of trumpet. Third year student AJ (Adrian Tonkovicz) was on drums and was also eminently solid and steady with a punchy amplified kick, as is called for in a rock/blues style, although he could have let loose a bit more for my jazz-atuned ears. I found both Troy Hambly and Greg Stott were taking a back-line rhythmic role, or at least were not loud and out front and centre, but both blew the audience away with fast and furious solos when they let go. Troy impressed me as musical director / conductor with the dynamics and coordination he imparted, a common role for pianists, and played some great rhythmic two-handed solos out of the R&B songbook. Greg is a stunner with sweeps and fast screaming guitar and there was some of this, although mostly he was playing more cleanly with a bluesy approach. Either way, terrific and exciting guitar playing. He also filled rhythmic duties on a cajun rhythm box at times although this was not too prominent amongst the other players.

The faculty band from the CIT Music School was Troy Hambly (keyboard), James Luke (bass), Dan McLean (trumpet, flugelhorn), Greg Stott (guitar) and third year student AJ (Adrian Tonkovicz, drums)

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