26 November 2012
It was a lovely, warm, sunny day outside. Night venues always look dingy during the day, and Vivaldi is a classic cabaret venue. The Loft crew were sponsoring their first Loft at Vivaldi Sunday-afternoon jazz session. It was a decent turnout with the regulars but also a range of new faces. The music was excellent. A friend joked that that this music should start late and run to morning, but these guys are professionals and it was well played regardless of the time. I came especially for the recreation of a favourite classic album, Oliver Nelson’s Blues and the abstract truth, in the second set. Alex Raupach had transcribed the CD. The band was the right line-up. The solos were performers’, but the heads and horn harmonies were the originals. I found the first chords of Stolen moments a bit spooky, as the horns swelled just as I remembered and the rhythm section sat cool like the original. Then Butch and Butch and Cascade and Teenie’s blues. I had to leave early but I’ll hear the rest later from a recording. Suffice to say, to my ears, they were true to the original and with a ghostly similarity in the heads. I came for the Abstract truth, but first set was just as good. I had shivers at the first lush chords of the first tune by Luke. They played another two by Luke and one each from Jack and Alex. Jack’s was called Agent Cooper and was unsurprisingly guitar-based. Alex’s was conceptually witty: a new melody over the chords of Billy Strayhorn’s Upper Manhattan Medical Group (UMMG), dedicated to the Loft, with the title Upstairs in the Majura Medical Centre (UMMC). The two others were very different styles and somewhat surprising to me from this crew. First was a cover was a Wayne Shorter’s Aung San Suu Kyi, a floating groove with whisps of soprano sax from John. The other was a work of colour and presence rather than groove, mystical rather than earthy. This was some wonderful music for an audience of old hands and newcomers, and despite the unhealthy retreat to the dark on such a nice day, it was a big success. Loft at Vivaldi had it first outing with Alex Raupach (trumpet, flugelhorn), Matt Handel (alto sax), John Mackey (tenor, soprano saxes), Tom Fell (baritone sax), Luke Sweeting (piano), Jack Palmer (guitar), Max Alduca (bass) and Luke Keanan-Brown (drums).