08 July 2018


Sandie White appeared at Eric Ajaye's (and Bucky and Jeffro's) new Jazz Haus venue with Eric and Matt McMahon and Jim Piesse. These are all seasoned performers with long experience. And experience together: Eric has played with Sandie for 7 years. He likes singers. I understand. Words are keys to meaning and singers spell out a performance. There's a hierarchy in performance, and the immediacy and meaning of vocals places it at the top. Then variously sax for its vocal qualities or piano for its orchestral qualities, or depending on context, even bass for its combined rhythmic and harmonic qualities. This was a string of standards, some moderately obscure, from Nice work if you can get it and Night and day, through to Ballad of Thelonious Monk and Mr Paganini. And a touch of the last few decades with Sting Practical arrangement. That's one I hadn't heard before but is touching in its wistful theme and desperate longing. Sandie's been singing for long and it's a tribute to her experience and commitment. There's a YouTube video to watch of her at Sydney Town Hall in the 1980's with Chris Qua and others belting out standards. There's still the lilt in the ballads and the animation in the bop lines and some wonderful scatting, if not with with the energy of the 1980's. And the band was the epitome of quiet professional backing: melding with her patter and reading her charts and, especially Matt and Eric, laying down some exquisite solos. This is not the bleeding edge of modern jazz but the essence of supremely sophisticated entertainment and I can come at that very easily.

Sandie White (vocals) appeared with Matt McMahon (piano), Eric Ajaye (bass) and Jim Piesse (drums) at Eric and Bucky and Jeffro's new venue, the Jazz Haus, at the Austrian Club.

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