5 July 2018

Touching base

There's too little jazz in my life these days but I got to the Hauptmann Trio last night and it was stunningly good. It was actually the Trio+1, the 1 being John Mackey. The trio are siblings, big sis Zoe and two brothers Ben and James. Zoe couldn't make it but they still kept it in the family: cus Nick Hoorweg sat in on bass. John had been one of their teachers in the past at the ANUSOM and the whole crew are well known to local jazz aficionados, so it was very much a family affair. How these students mature with time in the workforce! Nick told me of leaving Canberra immediately on finishing his degree to start a 6-month gig with a Motown show. Zoe's now in the big time touring scene and I guess James and Ben are there, too. So they should be. Ben really led the show, offering favourite tunes and being the front man. There were common jazz tunes - Chelsea Bridge, Secret love, Caravan, Willow weep for me, Meditation - and a few outliers, not least the very lovely Mancini Moon River and a gentle Bill Frisell and a Stan Turrentine burner. Ben put some interesting edges to all, eg, a synth tone bookending Chelsea Bridge (?) and a 12/8 groove to introduce Meditation. And some fabulously interesting guitar, well controlled and infrequent out-playing, biting and intriguing solos and some choppy country-like feels reminiscent of Frisell. James was just driving, enjoying the floor tom for his solos, and grabbing wayward drums as he attacked the kit. Nick was neat, sometimes just unobtrusively spelling the chords with tonics and the like, otherwise walking, sometimes soloing, again with a nice freedom. And John up front, quick witted and always inquisitive on both melodies and solos. Because it's an unusual choice and also because it's such a pretty tune, I noticed Moon River. John's simple statement of melody was to die for. But I felt that for multiple tunes on the night. These are guys (in the absence of the gal) who are at the top of their craft and supremely interesting. Just a fabulous outing.

The Hauptmann Trio + 1 played at the ANU Reunion Pop-Up Village. They comprised Ben Hauptmann (guitar), Nick Hoorweg (bass), James Hauptmann (drums) and John Mackey (tenor).

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