03 November 2015


James Whiting was touring a new album and his offsiders here in Canberra were a choice group gathered at Gary France's Groove Warehouse. It's the second concert I've caught there, and it's a nice intimate space, surrounded by the paraphernalia of percussion and with a very nice grand piano. A keen little venue. Gary was playing, and Eric Ajaye and Tate Sheridan, all great musicians and too little encountered in recent times following the devastation at ANU. James is a hot vibes player, this his second album was recorded in NYC, he's commencing a Doctorate in 2016 and he's heavily involved in all manner of musics, classical and musical theatre. Impressive. I enjoyed his mostly gentle and thoughtful originals and particularly grooved to an edgy jazz/rock piece with a heavily funky beat and odd twisted melody. Great: this is something I like immensely. He mentioned Gary Burton, as vibes players do, used four mallet for some and two for others, and could lay down some very tuneful solos and effective comping. The rest of the band were no slouches, of course. I particularly enjoyed hearing Eric after some time: smooth and very cleverly embellished on EUB and funky and driving on e-bass (both 5-string, high-C). Gary was absolutely spot on, tight, sharp, edgy and professionally sparing with his fills: nothing overplayed and superbly solid. Tate is a Triple-J unearthling and soon to be touring with Elton John, no less. He's playing with precision and care and some very nice chromatic play. Still early in this career, but seriously notable from the earliest days. They did play some covers: James Taylor, My foolish heart, but mostly originals, mostly from James' recordings, and that superbly funky slap number with fragmentary time and melody was my fave. Great night out, attractive and varied music and a nice catch up.

James Whiting (vibes) led a quartet with Tate Sheridan (piano), Eric Ajaye (bass) and Gary France (drums) at the Groove Warehouse on his CD launch tour.

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