14 May 2015
CanberraJazz.net needs at least some jazz. So does Canberra as a town, but with the loss of ANU students and the closure of Smiths, there's precious little of that around. But John Mackey was playing at Hippo. It's noisy and busy so not a listening environment. The recorded music in the break is louder than the band, so I only manage one set these days. John was accompanied by a great swag of locals and Matt Handel was visiting from Sydney. The music was funky and jazz-rocky. Just a few tunes with plenty of solos of generous length. The first set was just 4 tunes. A jazz rock groove, Footprints, You don't know what love is and Sonny Rollins Freedom suite. John and Matt, two great local saxes. Mark Sutton laying some obtuse and edgy grooves. Greg Stott playing rabid sweeps and coloured phrases. Damien Slingsby driving but melodic and Lachlan Coventry playing Bass VI with a pick for fat and satisfying tone and solos of real lyricism. It's the old guard together for a blow. Impressive as always, this time loud with heavy grooves. There's nothing much new in Canberra these days, but this crew is always a pleasure.
John Mackey (tenor) led a sextet at Hippo comprising Matt Handel (alto), Greg Stott (guitar), Damien Slingsby (piano), Lachlan Coventry (bass) and Mark Sutton (drums).