2 May 2014
Ah, that was fun. It was just a bit of jazz-funk-fusion. Locals Shorty and Chow were playing. But those 16th notes can enliven things and the funky beat on the one makes for so much energy that this playing was pretty relentless. They played originals, too. There were just a few standards (Alone together, Cissy strut, Softly as funk, Ladybird as swing for an unexpected encore) but these were mostly originals, by guitarist Luke or by bassist Barnaby. Barney was a monster with some solos, playing lightly with two finger pizz, plenty of chromatics and some impressive fast ascending picked slides and some massive descending lines that I guessed mixed chromaticism with seconds. Great fun. Luke was comfortable somewhere in Scofield with distortion and echo and often dropped into this sound, but just sometimes played straighter. I thought he was nicely contained and structured his solos well, changing tones, maintaining long eighth-note passages, perhaps going heavy with chords, often against drums. Jonathan plays pretty straight and swinging and driving drums and can build up a head of steam. He did this tonight for several solos, but also building very strongly behind guitar solos. Julian was more the individualist soloist, often restrained, slower, thoughtful as sax is, sometimes with a deep water bubbling tone, other times with a thinner, straighter alto voice, often venturing into interesting dissonances. Nice again. The final tune, Barnaby's Dancing with Gertrude was my favourite for the night and obviously a feature, laying out the melody in nice unison against odd timing, then strangely dropping tempo and speeding up again then playing a 16-th note funky feel in four for the solos. Luke's Suspension was quirky and busy unison lines for all parts, again 16-th notes and bass ostinato. Barney's From both sides was another ballad, this time with bass playing melody against swelling guitar chords. The other ballad was Luke's Terrace with guitar strumming that reminded me of 50s Hawaiian guitar. His Subtonic counted as a steady 7/4 with an angular melody, then into solos in three. So, local fusion with decent chops and some original themes. Good to see, and well enjoyed.
Shorty & Chow are Luke Greenhalgh (guitar), Barnaby Briggs (bass), Julian Fung (sax) and Jonathan Harding-Clark (drums).