31 July 2019

To end a week

The end of a truly great week of music: a concert with Michelle Nicolle and Palaver [Quintet]. Michelle is just a stunning master singer, detailed, developmental, improvisatory, wildly flexible in rhythm and richly embroidered. And lovely to boot. She was in Canberra for a few concerts interspersed with other travel. I caught them with Ronny and Geoff, her long-term offsiders in Melbourne, and our locals, Miro, John and Eric. Again, it was the perfection of the long-term rather than something of complex pre-arrangements. This was flexible and jammed, relaxed in style but delicious in performance. First up some tunes from the instrumentalists: Delicatessence and Stella; then Michelle with Green Dolphin Street and Footprints and "something in a major key", There will never be another you; then Miro's gloriously beautiful Peace please and an encore with Michelle on Softly. There are a few throwaway blowing standards in that list, but how well do they appear in this format! So good, so informed, such worthy explorations. I could only melt, what with Michelle's so-intriguing and such-enriching voice fantasies and her obvious engrossment (follow her hands and face) and the respect on stage (John's intent focus and Miro's open smile at one particularly inventive line by Michelle) and the deeply satisfying playing all round. So good and such a pleasure.

Michelle Nicolle (vocals) sang with Palaver [Trio/Quintet?] comprising Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet, flugelhorn), John Mackey (tenor), Geoff Hughes (guitar), Eric Ajaye (bass) and Ronny Ferella (drums).

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