29 August 2022

Thanks, Nugget

Andrea Keller was in Canberra for her ANU HC Coombes Fellowship and she presented a gig at the Drill Hall Gallery.  Her generosity was evident with its structure, featuring her trio with John and Miro but also with short features from three ANU student pianists, each displaying their skills and works.  The title of her concert says it all: New collaborations.  Andrea's trio played two sets including several new compositions from the Flicker series, Flickers no.2,3,4,5 and Carefree daze, Cobourg  and Hope in the thing with feathers (Andrea) and Peace please (a masterpiece by Miro). These were virtuosic presentations, clear pianistic accompaniments or intros and with clarity in solos truly to die for.  This was lucid with no bass or drums filling space, just master musicians speaking to open and live air.  The Drill Hall reverb worked a treat in this format.  I was taken aback by the beauty of some passages, clear and open as they were.  To hear how John could investigate a tune, calm and searching and occasionally explosive, was a thing of wonder and so evident in this format; the clarity of expression and harmony of Miro and John as a pairing showed their long history; Andrea leading, introducing, accompanying, ever clear and evocative, ever decisive and gently stated.  Then the three younger pianists, students or recently so, from a mix of classical and jazz backgrounds but essentially in a jazz idiom, if more latin than bebop.  Elliot Kozary played Estate and Blue in green.  Caleb Campbell played a his Spinning wheel, an improv on recurrent motion, and a major work, originally written in 11 parts and here reduced to solo piano, somewhat biographical, called Drift.  Ronan Apcar claimed a more classical background, playing an improv on folk Armenian tones, dark and deep, and a take on Brad Mehldau When it rains.  Truly a stunning concert and a thing of great beauty.

Andrea Keller (piano) led a trio with John Mackey (tenor) and Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet, flugelhorn) at the Drill Hall Gallery.  Elliot Kozary, Caleb Campbell and Ronan Apcar (piano) presented solo pieces.

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