7 June 2015
Mark Hannaford spoke highly of our Capital Jazz Project and remembered his time at the local School of Music and Miro's influence on his music. It felt at home in some ways. His insight at hearing Andrew Hill and Geri Allen and CJP as our little week of NYC buzz. This concert, with Ellery Eskelin, Tom Rainey and Scott Tinkler, was certainly an unrelenting stunner and an exposure to something rarely heard locally. Intense, demanding, complicated and somewhat puzzling to my ear. The melodies, you could say heads, were clear enough if long and complicated, but I wondered how the music would otherwise be written. How are the underlying chords, if chords they are, interpreted? The obtuse response of the players was thrilling and wildly satisfying. Partly because I was so satisfied by the clear standard chops these guys had. Ellery's playing could spell harmonies with ease, so this was not just obtuse noise creation, but how were the relationships with others and tune established and played out? It had me thinking of Sonny Rollins alone on his bridge. This was of the highest creation. And Tom was all over, spelling out tunes in time but almost nothing settled. My thought here was Paul Motion, famous for his time, but again around the rhythm and the relationships rather than spelling time. Strangely it was a little more obvious when I moved to another seat on Mark's side of the stage. The accompaniment and some regularity became more obvious although still I wondered at it. How was this music written? There were solos passed fairly obviously and there were heads, all nicely organic, but both obvious enough, but the accompaniment and harmony was the challenge for me. Scott deserves his mention, too, of course, blowing immense lines and dropping delightful intervals to end. Firm and meteoric playing. This grouping has recorded and been recently travelling in Australia and talking of the music and this was their last gig. It showed with easy communication despite fairly blank faces. I'll be mulling over this for some time. It's got its connections with the mainstream but it's far freer and more inquiring. Masterful and too rare in this end of the woods.
Mark Hannaford (piano, compositions) led a quartet with Ellery Eskelin (tenor), Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and Tom Rainey (drums) at Street Two for the Capital Jazz Project. And thanks to the foyer band of ANU students: Andrej Thompson (tenor), Brendan Keller-Tuberg (bass) and Alec Brinsmead (drums).