30 July 2012

This time Texas

It was almost like a jazz variety show when Niels Rosendahl presented his Farewell Concert. There was an audience of family and friends and not just the local jazz students and tragics. There was a good representation of audio and recording engineers and photographers were well represented. Niels, as host, chatted with the audience and invited a string of musician colleagues to stage to perform a varied mix of styles and tonalities. Then to top it off, there was a party in the foyer afterwards. But this was not lightweight performance. These are top players around town and our best are very good. First up was Niels’ organ trio with Luke Sweeting and Gary France with that particular ‘50s tonality that can be a bit woofy but which swings hard and funky when it’s in good hands. They were variously joined by three trumpets (locals Dan McLean and Ben Marston and Melbourne visitor Matt Tubman) and Raf Jerjen sat in after a few tunes. Ben played a gloriously melodic solo on Stella by starlight (trumpeters do) that highlighted to me the difference from prolific tenor madness. But then Dan and Matt indulged in trumpet mania with Dizzy’s classic brass hit, Night in Tunisia. Niels played Moon River for a friend in NYC and Luke performed a piano solo, while reading a chart from his mobile, that had Brenton and I astonished by its brilliantly perverse logic. (Luke later told us he just ignored the chart for a bit – so much for our ears). Both Raf and Gary had their solos too. Raf was newly back from NYC with a new commitment to rhythm above all and Gary is long out of the US but always with involvement and huge joy in his playing. I hadn’t realised that Gary studied at the very school that Niels is attending for his Masters program – University of North Texas School of Music: 1,500 students; 25 bands; a small town of jazzers. Back to the concert. Luke swapped to grand piano, groups grew and shrank, styles changed through various bop-influences and movie musicals then even on to the blues when Fiona Boyes came on stage. Niels has been expanding his palette into the blues and its conventions by touring with our internationally-recognised Fiona. Fiona led a Mississippi blues duo with Niels from acoustic guitar, vocals and kick box and an electric guitar blues. Then a return to jazz conventions and the influences and Coltrane and John Mackey and then a touch of evocative vocals and playful vocalese from Rachael Thoms. Then the party.

There was some stunning playing here and I imagine Niels can only continue his development with this sojourn. It was a friendly night and chatty to finish off, but as I walked home I wondered if Niels will ever wish to return to the future desert that will be Canberra music.

Niels Rosendahl (tenor) led a several bands and several visitors at his farewell concert: Luke Sweeting (organ, piano), Gary France (drums), Rafael Jerjen (bass), Dan McLean (trumpet), Ben Marston (trumpet), Matt Tubman (trumpet), Fiona Boyes (guitar, vocals), Rachael Thoms (vocals).

  • Cyberhalides Jazz Photos by Brian Stewart
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