2 December 2011

Best way to end the term 2

Danni Paryce started the show by singing a version of Cry me a river with a notably strong voice. Belinda Whyte sang two tunes with offsiders. A James Morrison soul tune called You give me something, and her original called Rise above. Her voice was nicely even and controlled and I enjoyed the sweet harmonies from Ruth then Lauree. Maddie Smeltink presented a totally different style, a quizzical old-style swing original about a modern day temptress called All about Eve. I must admire her for her for being so catholic in her tastes. Alex Cowell presented a very attractive original balled. Alex is the daughter of well-known local blues singer, Judy Pierce, so I’m not surprised that she showed such maturity and presence. By the end of the night, she’d sung numerous other tunes with confidence and real enjoyment for her and the dancing audience. Entertainment is much more than just musical skill and Alex carried it over with considerable panache. Ruth O’Brien sang Winter blues with a nicely authentic bluesy feel. Lauree Stuart sang another original ballad called Perfect, and Mike Walsh led his fusion original that reminded me of Corea and gave space for some nice indulgent solos from the band and beaming smiles from Mike.

The second set started with two originals by Mike Dooley. Mike is a seasoned player and it showed in the richness of composition, his leadership on the bandstand and his capable horn-like right hand solo lines. Miles away was a moody 7/4 with plenty of changes and Soliloquy was a lovely ballad. It was no surprise to me when Troy Hambly introduced Mike as not seeming like a student. Maggie Jeffs sang Fatts Waller’s Ain’t misbehavin’ as a rocky 12/8 and Gershwin’s Summertime with obvious and attractive Amy Whitehouse influences. The band then played a gentle and pretty original instrumental number by Lauree called Swan waltz. How interesting that a singer writes an instrumental. Simon Weaving sang a working class singer-songwriter tune, and Alex returned to present an original song by drummer AJ, although with apologies for not learning and performing the middle rap due to gender issues. Wouldn’t be alone there. The formal program ended with Simon returning to sing Ian Dury’s Hit me with your rhythm stick with that hugely funky bass line.

Then it was on for one and all for a long, unplanned medley of funk and rock and disco and good times. This really was a blast: dancing in the aisles, requests and passing of mics, lots of good muso memory and a few searches for chords and riffs, punchy fingerfunk bass, Mitch Canas amongst other visitors, rotating singers and harmonies and tons of smiles and laughter and joshing all round. What tunes? The intense funk of Rhythm stick started it, then over the next 30 minutes or so I noted Play that funky music, Superstition, Purple haze, Californication, Beat it!, My Sharona, Groove is in the heart, Sex machine and perhaps another half dozen. All pulled out of the hat or called as requests. Not too obscure, but nicely done at no notice. So? Great night, impressive playing and much fun. Just as the end of term should be.

Students and faculty from the CIT Music School included Danni Paryce, Maddie Smeltink, Alex Cowell, Ruth O’Brien, Lauree Stuart and Maggie Jeffs (singers), Adrian Tonkovicz (drums) and Mike Walsh (guitar). Mitch Canas (vocals) sat in.

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