27 July 2017
After the workshop, the gig. First up was Palaver, comprising Miro and John from Canberra with Ronny, Geoff and Tom, Michelle Nicole's band. What a delight this was. Very different from Michelle singing standards. This was free music, unscripted, uncomposed, played in the minute. But this is free from highly trained jazz players and the awareness and comfort with harmony and rhythm and standard instrumental techniques is evident. This was glorious, sensual, grooving, intense or playful; great tone, odd polyrhythms, settled grooves, comfy crossing rhythms. It started with Geoff laying down a feel on his woody-toned guitar, the drums and the rest. Both horns were blissfully tuneful while open-eared and exploratory. If anything, it was the rhythm players, bass and drums, that were playing for colour while the lead instruments spelled melody. This is free that's easy to partake of: stella. Michelle came on and the style changed. Still overwhelmingly capable and satisfying and beauteous, but based on the standards repertoire: Once upon a dream, Too marvellous for words, I like the sunrise, Do nothing till you hear from me, Drop the smile Ellington Diga Diga Doo and Caravan. These are standards but done with great agility and freedom and interplay and with the addition of two star horns. It was an expansion on the tone of Michelles's band. I drooled over solos by both Miro and John, richly toned and improvisationally intriguing, but they retained a professional reserve as the sit-ins on the night. (That's a good lesson for excitable sit-in-ers). All things of wonder. Stella(r) playing and stunning vocal skills. What a wonderful concert.
Michelle Nicole (voice) sang with Geoff Hughes (guitar), Tom Lee (bass), Ronny Ferella (drums),Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet, flugelhorn) and John Mackey (tenor) at the ANU School of Music. The band without Michelle performed free jazz as Palaver.