2 February 2012
I caught the Wayne Kelly Trio playing last night at Hippo. Jazz is sparse in Canberra as we wait for the new academic year to begin so the announcement on Facebook was welcomed. Hippo has the locals playing on Wednesday nights and it remains a nice if noisy gig. From the top, this was luxurious playing, reminiscent of dark late night bars and world-weariness, and perhaps of Shanghai speakeasies (or more likely cocktail bars). But despite the leisurely pace and feel, this was full of throwaway nonchalant inventiveness. The tunes were standards or of that style, built on ii-V cycles. I recognised several, like Things ain’t what they used to be and I’ll remember April, and others were familiar if only vaguely, but Wayne took them far away, with chromatic inventions and panoramic sparseness and an easy relationship with the trio. Col played his unique percussive style with his tiny kit of thuddy kick and snare and a range of rhythm- and sound-makers and his insistent cross rhythms. Chris, now returned from Europe, was back on double bass and playing with a freely expressed maturity, frequently soloing into the thumb positions, easily moving over and through tonalities rather than simply stating chords. It was a delightful outing that had me smiling with pleasure at the easy groove but also the flexibility and invention that Wayne brought to it. How lovely was this! Wayne Kelly (piano) performed with Chris Pound (bass) and Col Hoorweg (drums) at Hippo.