11 June 2013

Finally Merimbula 2

I listened to an interesting duo over a Thai dinner: baritone sax and violin. They introduced themselves as Richard and Anna Savery (Anna’s in the program as Anna Okunev in the trio Sweet and Savery). This was classical chops applied to jazz, easy sequences, extended ranges, long arpeggiated phrases, double stop string accompaniment. The classical training was clearly evident on violin. I’m not sure of baritone sax as a classical instrument, but Richard had chops too. Classical players don’t swing quite like jazzers, but they worked through the Real Book with ease and took requests. I suggested Out of nowhere and Bluesette and they did them both. I was entertained and most impressed. Richard Savery (baritone sax) played with Ana Okunev (violin).

I really enjoyed a set by singer Ketzia Wood supported by a piano trio. Her voice was raspy and she mentioned a recent cold. I noticed no spectacular control or technique but here was the stage presence of torch singers in dark bars and the era of Lady Day. This was simple melody perfectly phrased, undemonstrative but emotively deep, of the moment, shimmering movement and guiltlessly seductive. I’m not sure the women would have responded quite the same, but Ketzia had presence. She sang the likes of Embraceable you and I’m old fashioned. What else?

As good as the best were our Canberra mates, Angela Lount and the Fedoras. Perhaps this is no surprise. They are classy professional players who gig often and are deeply ensconced in the music scene as both performers and teachers. This was easy presence and informality with chops. Dan McLean and James Luke shred the tunes but I just await every solo from Paul dal Broi. He sits calm and thoughtful, deconstructing the tamest of tunes into obtuse and edgy re-harmonisations and occasional streams of melodic thought. You wouldn’t expect it from this playlist – Blue skies, Autumn leaves, Georgia – but these guys are hot and the outcome is downright interesting. Angela Lount (vocals) led the Fedoras comprising Dan McLean (flugelhorn), Paul dal Broi (piano), James Luke (bass) and Mitch Preston (drums) sitting in.

I caught the Wonderdogs and they are good. This is very well practiced trad-styled entertainment with considerable fluency. Tight, with modern presence and chops. Wonderdogs are Andrew Jack (trumpet), Ian Christensen (reeds), Greg Simmons (banko), Alex Wilson (bass) and Bill Lawler (drums).

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