24 November 2017

Our own force of nature

Wayne Kelly appeared at the U3A JAG (Jazz Appreciation Group) last week. He's a master, of course. It was just in a recent email to me that a visiting professional player from the UK called him a "force of nature" after playing at one OCI jam session. He was at JAG to perform, and present a history of jazz piano. The history and talking and CD listening may have taken a little too long (it's surprising how much time public speaking actually takes when you get on the dais). But his playing was the expected revelation. He was demonstrating early jazz piano. Gottschalk as a mid-1800s NOLA promoter, then Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll and the boogie woogie players. Wayne gave us little personal background, talking of the influence of shuffle, then Graeme Bell and jazz radio and his time at Narrabundah College. He talked of the rhythmic essence of jazz, of the blues scale, of challenge of coordination two hands in otherwise fairly regular sounding music. Perhaps just regular to us after 100+ years of this music. His demos were of Satin doll as interpreted by Hank Jones, a blues shuffle, various stride patterns and boogie-woogie piano blues as by Jimmy Yancey and Fats Domino (Blueberry Hill, with vocals). Then a final Fats Waller Ain't misbehavin' (also with vocals) and a short stab at the Entertainer. I'll join with our visitor in claiming Wayne as a local jazz force of nature. See the CJCalendar for his regular gigs: OCI Wed, Hyatt Fri and Tilley's Sat.

Wayne Kelly (piano) presented and performed an early history of jazz piano for the U3A JAG.

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