05 June 2022

Next gen?

This night felt different.  Obviously for the music, but not sure why otherwise.   I thought next gen, but it's not just age.  It was fresh and I enjoyed it immensely.  It was two women leaders presenting their albums.  First up was Hilary Geddes and her quartet out of Sydney.  It started with changly guitar strums, moving through diverse and almost unrelated rhythms, then into sharp but sparse drums, their rhythms present but not too obviously stated, then into a melody of sorts on bowed bass, sometimes with unison piano, soundscapes in G (key is my guess from the bass fingering).  That was written for a street in Bremen, near the conservatorium, where Hilary was studying.  Then more, very different, perhaps with solos for all at various times.  Some were obvious and standard enough, including a genuine blow guitar solo in the last piece, but that was the one up-walk-feel.  Otherwise, plenty of bowed bass amongst the fingered including solos in each and bowed tailpieces and the like, some delicious piano counterpoint-cum-accompaniment, sharp and elusive drumming to die for, more tunes with Bremen references and some odd times that had me flumoxed.  Perhaps they were changeable; one 6-6-4 seemed to change all over.  I think that Bill Frisell touch, but he's never touched me, but then it took a little time for Hilary to do so, too.  At least half a tune!  Great stuff.  Then a second act at Street Three.  This was Claire Cross from Melbourne.  Claire, e-bassist and composer, sitting and leading a larger team including even viola and cello, mostly scored although she spoke after of leaving space for thematic improv by players.  This was much calmer, ordered, meditative, but again intensive and expansive.  The piece was created through a Melbourne International Jazz Festival program and recorded with many of the same players, although at least drums and cello had just sat in that day.  The drumming, although shared with Hilary, was far more restrained, Claire's bass was all fingerpicked chords and just a few fingerstyle passages, the strings added colour and the trombone and alto broke out into lovely solos every so often, but this remained a discreet work.  So different from Hilary's but again intriguing.  So quite a night.  Somewhat a revelation, really.  Hear their albums online: Hilary Geddes Parkside on Spotify; Claire Cross Into light on Bandcamp.

Hilary Geddes (guitar) led her quartet with Max Alduca (bass), Matt Harris (piano) and Alex Inman-Hislop (drums).  Claire Cross (e-bass) led her ensemble with Harry Cook (piano), Alex Inman-Hislop (drums), Jordan Murray (trombine), Flora Carbo (alto sax, bass clarinet), Biddy Connor (viola) and Eleanor Streatfeild (cello).  Both groups performed at Street Theatre Three.   PS, sorry for the pics!  Best I could do under the circumstances...

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