19 August 2013

Two for onesies

I don’t get the onesies craze. But two players were wearing onesies at the Loft the other night. The bands were Cooking Club and Alpine Fresh. I’m told you can get free drinks wearing onesies are some pubs, so there’s some reason. What’s pride when there’s a free beer on the line? I heard a social psychological interpretation the other day. I’d explain but it’s too long and I expect it’s more opinion than evidence-based. Suffice to say, I don’t own a onesie. Not to say I don’t like the music or the flippant, informed inclusiveness that can go with it. I suggested to the bands that they could leave the jazz clubs; that they were good lures to bring people to sophisticated music and this is sophisticated. There’s obvious training and chops and commitment here. There’s also an openness to all styles and a jovial readiness to mix all manner together and revel in the outcome. I noticed ‘60s modern jazz sax and big bands from Saturn and rhythms from rock and rap. I felt groove was the key, not harmony, although there was harmony in the front line trumpet and sax in the Cooking Club including some luscious extensions. Blue Train Coltrane made an appearance as a mask, all amusing and carelessly constructed with elastic and cardboard cuttings. This music is not careless, but the presentation is replete with irony. Alpine Fresh played first. AF is a trio although they were supplemented by Shota’s trumpet for the first medley. They are claimed as “contemporary suburban Sydney” of “punk rock, lounge jazz, Zen, 19th century impressionism and modern swag rap”. Sounds pretty right. I thought they may have been newer at this game than the Cookies and so not so confident. The Cooking Club was brash, creative and downright amusing. Their claim is “colour, texture and overall good taste”. I can agree they are tasty, but good taste may be too bourgeois a concept for such a band. This was solid, groove-infected music with some very heavy bass lines, varied in instrumentation, as serious as your life but with tongue well in cheek. I wasn’t the only one delighted and enlivened by this blend. These are two young bands exploring the reaches of jazz of the day. I can love Coltrane (and there was some ‘60s tenor here), but I also like broken boundaries. This felt good and real … except maybe for the onesies.

The Cooking Club were Michael Gordon (tenor), Shota Matsumara (trumpet), Tom Wade (bass) and Finn Ryan (drums). Alpine Fresh were Billy Ward (tenor, clarinet), Axel Powrie (bass) and Drew Bourgeois (drums).

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