9 December 2012

Relatively the underworld

I just managed part of the second set by the Mark Lockett Trio at the Loft. I’d been at Christian Howes and that was a lengthy concert. The contrast was educative. Both had great skills but these were wildly different styles, different audiences, different presentations. Mark is the underground. He’s been studying in NYC with Ari Hoenig; Ornette’s a favourite. His drumming was sparse; the band’s sound was open, being a sax trio; his accompanists were amongst Australia’s best: Julien Wilson and Alex Boneham. This is contemporary music, open and searching, unrushed as notes are sought, beauteous in tone and intimate in context. The Loft and the limited audience just added to the intimacy. I noticed some technical mannerisms in Mark (probably a function of contemporary drumming – things are different now, not all swing and filling the spaces) and his playing was intimate and always purposed. I thought of Paul Motion, although Mark’s not so free. Also the perfect, nuggetty tone of Alex’s bass and long but well-intoned intervals and individually formed notes and his contorted, bodily playing. And sinuous, personal tenor from Julien. I haven’t heard him nearly enough: his reputation is well deserved. This was variously sustained steams of eighth notes of varied dissonance or simple but apt phrasings of sure lyricism. I came in on a first tune that had me elated with these streams of tenor notes then a bass solo of searching melody and perfect tonality. Then a recognition of simple beauty, a ballad My little brown book, which was devoid of solos. Then Bernie McGann’s Brownsville. Then an syncopated original, Sneaking out after midnight. That’s all I heard; damn the clashes. This is beauty. Again, recorded by ArtSound for a Friday Night Live broadcast in coming weeks. I’ll be keeping my ears open for what I missed. Mark Lockett (drums) is touring with Julien Wilson (tenor) and Alex Boneham (bass).

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