01 July 2022

Returns


Nice to hear a group return so soon.  This was four ANUSOM guitar students, Abel Lawson, Hong Anh Do, Benjamin van der Niet and Shane Campbell.  They each played solo then those other than Shane played a trio.  All musicians play Bach and several also did here but otherwise the music was mostly of a Spanish tinge, a standard style for classical guitar.  Perhaps the choices of Hong Anh Do were outside the norm, with titles in French and Italian and perhaps also stylistically different.  I enjoyed the trio given the more complex interplay of lines and the longer solo piece by Shane, three movements from Antonio Jose Suite Compostelana para guitar.  I expect you learn Spanish language as well as musical styles when playing guitar.  Nice outing.

Abel Lawson, Hong Anh Do, Benjamin van der Niet and Shane Campbell (guitars) performed at Wesley.

30 June 2022

One big family

They can't be the first to have done it, but it was an interesting combination of musics.  This was ACO (Australian Chamber Orchestra) performing various works from or influenced by the Dach dynasty.  I knew JSB had a string of kids but I didn't know of his third cousin (Johann Ludwig) or his great uncle (Heinrich).  But ACO presented them, plus some influenced by the influencer/s, Schumann and Mozart and Sofia Bubaidulina.  And not just instrumentals and fugues, but there was a mezzo soprano, Anna Dowsley, for  a ciaconne and arias.  There was a third aria but not presented here in Canberra, and Heinrich was on the program but I don't think we heard him.  Not too sure.   The program had a string of shorter works so a little confusing although varied but we did also get a few longer things, especially JS Concerto for two violins in Dmin BWV1043 (which I know as I did a midi take for a The Pots album) and Cello concerto Amaj Wq172.  The interplay of violins was attractive, trying to identify which Strad was which (a game at ACO concerts given their classy instruments collection) and some blistering cello lines in Timo-Veikko's part.  As always, classy and showy, well presented and well received.  Our genuine Aussie internationals.  I was wondering about the tuning and strings.  The bass bow was obviously pointy baroque.  The others looked pretty standard classical, but I guess they were too, and I guess that also means gut.  Eric Heldyard was called in, too, playing harpsichord but also a very period-sounding keyboard in the Andante movement of Mozart Piano concerto no.12 Amaj K414.  It could get a little lost in such a big space, but it made you listen.  As always, nicely done by a fairly reduced ACO (2xvln1, 2xvln2, 2xvla, 2xclo, bass, harpsichord/fortepiano, bassoon, mezzo soprano).  I may sound dismissive, but these guys are good and always provide a great performance and strange how we just come to expect it.  That's the way with the best, I guess, on a big stage pretty far away.

Australian Chamber Orchestra played played music of the Bach family and some admirers at Llewellyn. 

29 June 2022

Desert

Big days out don't end too soon.  The desert for this day was to sit in with Forrest National Chamber Orchestra at St Paul's, Manuka.  It's a favourite venue with favourite company.  I got the invitation a few weeks before and only managed two rehearsals on the two days before the gig.  Amusingly, I responded to the invitation mentioning our NCO gig on the same day, but Gill had the answer: a concert at 6pm after one a 3pm.  Possible if not too relaxed!  Same for the Friday rehearsals, wedged together.   But I read and listened to the works and hoped for the best.  One main work was a Handel organ concerto.  Amusingly or otherwise, at the Thursday rehearsal we learnt of the organist getting Covid and two replacement pieces, Sibelius and Bach.  Brandenburg 3 no less, well known and scalar but quick.  That with a hand-written baroque chart form Vivaldi that got a replacement on the night.  All pretty topsy turvy but I was pleased by my playing and that of the group, especially the cellos who I work with as the sole bass.  So, the desert at the end of a big day worked well and I was ready for a beer when I got home that night.  A memorable day!

Gillian Bailey-Graham (conductor) directed Forrest National Chamber Orchestra playing Sibelius, Vivaldi, Sarasate, Bach and Borodin at St Paul's, Manuka.  The pic is FNCO in rehearsal, of course.

28 June 2022

Big day out

This was a big day, the annual concert by National Capital Orchestra with Canberra Choral Society in Llewellyn.  I dream of this day.  I get this massive grin as the voices ring out, the solo vocalists solo up front, the sound of the orchestra rings in this classy acoustic.  The audience may not quite look it, but you feel professional here.  Great lighting, this time the big e-organ, the stage managing and risers and the rest, always those voices.  This year was Rossini Petite messe solonnelle.  He'd become famous and rich and mostly retired from music, but later he wrote this work.  It's not Brahms or Mozart and it has some lightheartedness and melodrama from the Italian operatic scene, but it's also got some nice lines, a few involving fugues, a few but not too many challenges. At least for the bass, which is how I measure it.  Some players were a bit unflattering but I liked a few parts a lot and those voices were right behind me.  The basses were a line of five behind woodwinds and in front of 3 rows of choir.  We liked this.  We could see well, be part of the sound and project well into both the orchestra and the audience.  We got several supportive comments on our location, especially from violins, usually across stage from us, and given the foundational role of the bass, I reckon this could only be for the better.  From my part, I hugely enjoyed the performance, satisfied that my mistakes were mostly in rehearsal, as it usually is and as it should be.  Conductor Louis was a great pleasure in rehearsal and in performance.  We even got a mention on ABC Classic FM in the morning.  What more could you ask?  A fabulous outing and I judge a very worthy one.  But this was a big day and more to come...

National Capital Orchestra teamed with Canberra Choral Society to perform Rossini Petite messes solonnelle in Llewellyn Hall.  Louis Sharpe (conductor) led with Dan Walker (chorus master, tenor) and soloists Sarahlouise Owens (soprano), Sonia Anfiloff (alto), Ryan O'Donnell (tenor) and Hayden Barrington (baritone).   And five double basses.  

  • Thanks to the indefatigable Peter Hislop for this and all the rest of his pics.

27 June 2022

Bach or another

I was expecting one Bach and got another, a Prelude and fugue instead of a Toccata in fugue, both Dmin.  But Bach is always OK and this was one the Wesley organ with a visitor from Albury (I have connections locally) and diplomas from London and this was my nice little Organ recital series from the RSCM (Royal Society of Church Music (ACT Branch) tht takes me around the various organs in Canberra and the program with satisfying if not with the expected Bach.  So I remained perfectly happy.  Satisfying but very obscure: Dandrieu, Darke, Vierne, Bedad, Peeters, Twist and Widor.  I recognised a few names, but only a few.  Nonetheless, the playing was very capable and the music was another apt outing for an afternoon recital.  Much enjoyed. 

James Flores (organ) performed at Wesley Church for the RSCM (ACT).

26 June 2022

Dreams of travels

There was some very satisfying playing, of course, on organ and piano, so similar and yet so different.  This was Linus Lee playing in the church at Wesley.  The title of the concert was also its theme, Tunes from faraway, varied in source and culture, but related in the pleasantness and joy of the music.  I mentioned joy lots when I was reporting on the OWJF.  Some bands just had that sense of entertainment, others were heavier, maybe more serious, but I doubt it.  As for chops, they were all to perfectly capable.  So it's not ability or conviction that associates with joy or even serious intent.  Maybe it's just these difficult times that prompt me to hear joy and I did here, too, with Linus.  He talked of programming for a lunchtime concert, and that's also part of it.  So we got Ballet Egyptien by a Frenchman with an Italian name, a Persian market by Ketelbey and later Mussorgsky and the national dance of Ukraine (a Russian writing Ukrainian song; again a marker, or not, of the times).  Those were all on organ.  On piano we had American Edward MacDowell and 5 forgotten fairy tales and Granados Capricho Espanol (Spanish writes Spanish) and Coleridge-Taylor Danse Negre (an Englishman in Africa and possibly spurned these days).  The organ was its soft and deep and full self and the piano punchy and percussive and loud.  But in all, an entertaining and fascinating concert played really nicely.  Thanks to Linus.

Linus Lee (organ, piano) performed for a Wesley Music Centre lunchtime concert.

25 June 2022

Old country

Yeah, they were at our National Portrait Gallery but they were from the NPG in London.  Covid has been an excuse to close a string of galleries in London and we've got access to some of their treasures.  Some are names unknown to me, but not many.  Britain is not my background but it is in our national cultural history, Henry VIII and Q Eliz and Q Vic and the rest.  Some were much more relevant to us, although others were somewhat colonial in connection.  I had to ask Megan about a few princes and the like, not knowing my royal history too well.  Of course we got Shakespeare and Newton and Banks, all worthy.  And Churchill, of course, but Conrad Hall and Arthur Wellesley and Thomas Howard?  Excuse my ignorance.  I was interested to see visages of Henry James and Dickens and William Morris and the Bronte sisters and even Beatrix Potter.  I enjoyed the small but life-like statue of Tim Berners-Lee and Karl Friedrich Abel was a renowned viola da gamba player painted by Gainsborough so he fits here.  I loved a few neo-classical pieces, of Anne Hyde and her royal lover and Mary Neville and her son, but I walked easily by some modern pieces, simple as they were, Anna Wintour and Joan Collins and Ed Sheeren and some others.  I was taken by some photos.  For over 150 years the photo has been the key record of people.  The pics of the Beatles and Mick Jagger were both at age 21 or so.  So young!  Mick looks worldly, but even after years in Hamburg, the Beatles really don't, and yet they would change the world in just a few years.  But perhaps the most stunning for me, of the whole exhibition, was Elizabeth Taylor, mature and gorgeous, aged ... 14-or-so.  I was floored as were those standing with us.  I guess the era of National Velvet?  Stunning.  So an interesting outing thanks to London and two NPGs.  

Shakespeare to Winehouse was an exhibition of portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, London, displayed at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.  Check out the website at NPG London for the full collection and images.  I would have included pics of Liz Taylor, Beatles, Mick J, perhaps others, but I can't be bothered chasing up copyright releases.  Such are modern IP  rights.

S to W website

This is CJBlog post no. 2,500

24 June 2022

Finally Lizzy

Lizzy Collier is a really nice local bassist and music teacher and she was to direct Musica da Camera last year but came down with an injury and her concert and program was covered.  Finally, we got to play with her, just last Saturday, more than 6-months late.  The main work on the program with Suk Serenade, a work of 30 mins and four movements and some demanding passages, quiet and evocative and just seat of pants stuff.  We got through it, if not at release level.  The other works were quite meditative, FS Kelly with a WW1 elegy, Finzi with a romance, Schoenberg with a Notturno from early in his career and a more bouncy take on Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams.  We were joined by harp for a few tunes.   I love this fascinating process of discovering directors / conductors, learning their personalities and preferences and modes of musical and other communication.  Lizzy was wonderfully direct and clear, not always a feature of a conductor.  So, a touching and well led outing from Lizzy with MdCC.

Musica da Camera Canberra performed Suk, FS Kelly, Finzi, Schoenberg and Vaughan Williams under Lizzy Collier (director) with guest Elizabeth Alford (harp).

23 June 2022

French olives

My last Wesley concert was before the OWJF and it was a beauty, not least for the unusual combination: violin, oboe, harp.  That clear, plucky, nylon sound of harp with the sustained sound of violin and that serpentine oboe tone.  Really delightful, but a buggar to source music.  The group is the Olive Trio and they are locals, all playing in Canberra Symphony and frequent performers are Wesley and otherwise.  They had a piece written by our local Sally Greenaway and arranged for them by Sally.  Also Debussy and Gaubert, mostly arranged for this format.  The French music suited the group well.  And an fellow student of violinist Lucy had written a piece specifically for them when he heard of the combination.  I could easily understand that; that was a world premiere.  Suffice to say they are all competent players so this was a slightly unusual but very much welcomed concert.  Lovely stuff.

The Olive Trio performed at Wesley Music Centre.  Olive Trio comprises Rowan Phemister (harp), Zoë Loxley Slump (oboe ) and Lucy Macourt (violin).

22 June 2022

OWJF2022-11


I went off to the Baptist Church and got something somewhat at the other end of the spectrum, Ray Beadle trio.  This was blues guitar (the goldtop Les Paul was fitting) with keys and drums.  Ray sang occasionally.  This was very professional, neat, not overly adventurous, entertaining. 

Then probably the find of the night, Virna Sanzone with Phil Stack.  It takes chops for both artists to carry this out effectively, just vocals and double bass.  I was entranced with some great singing, professional mic control, great songs and telling lyrics.  And that bass playing.  Phil was adventurous, out on a limb, sometimes not quite finding what he was seeking, but absolutely committed, hugely fluent and dynamic.  This was a joyous and awesome find.  Did they mention it, or did I think it: jazz adjacent.  So true.  Tunes by Leon Russell and latins and Around midnight.  Loved this one.

Big day; getting to the end, but after finding the pub and some company, I would miss it.  To end, I was back to the Lord Anson for Cope Street Parade.  Now, how apt is a jazz festival finishing with its history, New Orleans, Everything you do, Bourbon Street Parade, Nat King Cole, When I get too old to dream, 2 feels all round.  Great stuff nicely played.  I left passing the musos corner at the pub noticing bassists together.  Also an apt finish to a festival.

So how was the festival?  Some great playing.  Opportunities to catch all manner of styles and players, some of Sydney's jazz luminaries and upcomers, all worthy to fabulous, all together in time and space.  Not at all surprising given SIMA's involvement.  I think the town was happy, too, and I know it's due back next year.  Queen's Birthday weekend, 2023.  Keep it in mind and bring your warm jackets.

Ray Beadle, Virna Sansone and Phil Stack and Cope Street Parade played at the inaugural Orange Winter Jazz Festival.  Ray Beadle (guitar, vocals) played with Clayton Doley (keys) and Andrew Dickeson (drums).  Virna Sanzone (vocals) sang with Phil Stack (bass).  Cope Street Parade comprised Justin Fermino (saxophones, vocals), Aaron Flower (guitar, vocals), Ben Panucci (guitar, vocals) and Sam Dobson (bass, vocals).

21 June 2022

OWJF2022-10


Emma Pask was a big name in the big room, the Holy Trinity Church.  Nice singing of standards and musical theatre songs, Here there and everywhere, They say it's wonderful and the like.  Classy and popular, if not so much for a more adventurous audience.  No names of accompanists in the program, but she played with piano, Phil Stack (bass) and drums.

Then some locals for this Canberran, the ANU School of Music Recording Ensemble.  Before its "restructure", the School once had a Commercial Ensemble, a Recording Ensemble and a Big Band and they played for the public regularly.  Miro ran the Recording Ensemble.  Members would write material then perform it.  The approach is the same but with John Mackey as leader/director.  This was a hot band, perhaps too hot and racing at times, too excitable, but seriously impressive playing and complex interesting tunes.  Apparently they will be recording and touring in future.  I was impressed.  Again no names in the program but working with John Mackey.

Then another quick visit to the Vampires.  I was wondering if they were that much more confident than the previous night.  I missed the start and couldn't tell, but again, I love these tunes and these grooves.

Then another big name, again in the unbalanced Holy Trinity Church, was Asteroid Ecosystem.  Now this was interesting.  They had visited Canberra and I'd missed them so they were one  reason for attendance at this festival.  It's an odd combination and apparently one that came out of a recording.  Ed Kuepper was the lead guitarist of The Saints and other post-punk and grunge groups; not jazz.  Alister explained that he'd recorded a string of albums with guests, the Alister Spence trio was one and thus this band.  Well, what was it?  A strange mix of improv set to charts and eclectic guitaristic tones and various noise and grooves and bass lines.  I didn't think the venue's acoustics did it justice and after how many bands in two days I wasn't up to it.  But there were some seriously good players here.

Emma Pask, ANU School of Music Recording Ensemble, The Vampires and Asteroid Ecosystem played at the inaugural Orange Winter Jazz Festival.  Emma Pask had Phil Stack on bass.  Asteroid Ecosystem comprised Alister Spence (piano), Lloyd Swanton (bass), Toby Hall (drums) and Ed Kuepper (guitar, electronics).

20 June 2022

OWJF2022-9

Then old friends Wanderlust.  Now this was amusing as well as inviting and attractive.  Firstly, the tunes are to die for.  We hear a small number mostly at every Wanderlust concert, but I never tire of the colourful melodies and  insistent, somewhat international grooves and the three part front line and the solos.   They are in their 30th year but not playing too much, given Covid.  I imagined them flying by the seat of their pants but this is jazz.  Miro organising, passing or calling for solos, those unique feels, the amusements of James and all, really.  When do you see the saxist putting down his glasses on the stand, the trumpeter picking them up, the trombonist checking them out too, all while a delirious solo is taking place, with all in place for John when he's finished, you can only smile in collusion.  Then glorious startups from Fabian, all percussive rather than drum-styled, an unexpected solo started from Brendan when the audience didn't seem to want an end to the concert, and those delightful and expansive solos and fills from Alister.  Mightily musical but so much more; an intensely joyous event but also just lovely, inviting tunes.  How can you not love this outfit?

 And now for something completely different: The Morrisons.  This was classy country/roots/whatever.  Nice harmonies, up feels, fiddle and a string of stringed instruments, banjo, two guitars, a mandolin or similar and bass with slap-style playing. Someone mentioned Australian bluegrass and confirmed the lyrics and stories and compositions were local.  That's good.  I liked this outfit, capable and lively and happy.  Also nice was the location in the Lord Anson pub, so a chance to eat and have a beer.  A very different experience to the church-cum-concert hall events and a chance to chat with neighbours.

 Wanderlust and The Morrisons played at the inaugural Orange Winter Jazz Festival. Wanderlust comprised Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet, flugelhorn), James Greening (trombone), John Mackey (tenor), Jeremy Sawkins (guitar), Alister Spence (piano), Brendan Clarke (bass) and Fabian Hevia (drums, percussion).  No names given in the program for The Morrisons.

19 June 2022

OWJF2022-8

Next up was Andy Nelson playing singer-songwriter rootsy music with a cast of characters, guitar/vocals with violin, viola, e-guitar and bass.  An interesting sound with authenticity. 

Then This world again.  They were in the Holy Trinity Church with touchy sound, so not as enjoyable as the previous outing, but this is quality stuff with some drop dead gorgeous solos all round, especially sax and bass. 

Then a touch of Persian/jazz crossover with Eishan Ensemble.  The core player seems to be Hamed, playing Tar and composing.  Of course, these are different sounds to my ears and that was intriguing.  First up was a solo Tar piece, then into an ensemble piece with very simple chord structure and pretty simple melodies.  BTW, the Tar a lute-like stringed instrument from Iran with three pair of strings tuned unison C,G,C and a single bass string tuned G.  I need to hear more before I understand.  Nice to see Max getting around. 

Andy Nelson, This World and Eishan Ensemble played at the inaugural Orange Winter Jazz Festival.  Andy Nelson (guitar, vocals) was joined by a string of accompanists.  This World comprises Mike Nock (piano), Julien Wilson (sax), Jonathan Zwartz (bass) and Hamish Stuart (drums).  Eishan Ensemble comprised Hamed Sadeghi (tar), Michael Avgenicos (sax), Pedram Layegh (guitar), Adem Yilmaz (drums, percussion) and Maximillian Alduca (bass).

18 June 2022

OWJF2022-7

Good and bad here.  The bad was that I could only hear Sandy Evans Trio or Andrea Keller solo.  Well, I could walk between venues but how much would I miss.  I mentioned this to manager Zoe but I understand the problems with programming.  None-the-less, it's my greatest disappointment of these days.  I'd heard the two the day before and adored both and Andrea Keller is in Melbourne so more difficult to catch.  But life is like that.  The good? 

Sandy Evans Trio was my favourite event of the festival.  Not something new or unexpected. I'd heard them all before together and apart and admired all their playing.  Together, despite few gigs over recent times due to Covid, they just excelled.  To some degree, the style is a preference of mine, as we all have preferences given what's hot when we discover something.  For me, it was '70 modern jazz much like this.  I could have hiked down to Andrea K but I melted and decided to stay.  The sound was to die for and this was also part of the pleasure.  The bass was pickup into Ampeg and otherwise unamplified, so levels fitted to bass.  The sax was one large diaphragm, with distance nicely controlled by Sandy; the drums were one overhead and one kick mic.  And the space was good.  Brett sounded so solid and expressive, double stops and more and Toby laid deep grooves, but was also loud and explosive or varied and fluid.  Sandy played over, moving tonalities, delirious long phrases or reticent and restrained, always gloriously toned (I felt I could hear the bell itself this was so intimate; thus the pleasure with the sound), intellectually questing, grunts or space or abstract melody.  Then a tribute to Bernie McGann and wife Addie.  My god, so beautiful.  Then a quick tune with unison sax/bass and something "so you can contemplate your own identity" and then Invasion day at the beach, introduced as a "punk rock thrash disco yobbo feel".  Loved'm all.  An important band playing a gem session expertly and with integrity. 

 The Sandy Evans Trio played at the inaugural Orange Winter Jazz Festival.  They were Sandy Evans (tenor, soprano sax), Brett Hirst (bass) and Toby Hall (drums).

17 June 2022

OWJF2022-6

Day 2 of OWJF2022 and I decide to spread my listening, some singers, the older jazz traditions, perhaps some blues or roots, a pub venue rather than another concert-hall church.  And good for a bit of exercise walking between venues and braving the cold.   Colder than Canberra by a few degrees and the dress of the locals shows it.

First up is Kate Wadey Trio at the Con.  Someone had spoken well of her the day before.  Kate with bass and piano.  I  caught a few songs.  First up was East of the sun, west of the moon, a favourite song, so I was on side.  Decent piano and bass solos; bassist Sam likes soloing with the bow.  Then a few originals.  I notice I'm genuinely impressed with a composition: an authentic, satisfying chord structure that moves nicely through keys or major/minors; AABA with harmonic changes in both As and Bs; med-slow walk.  So this is a jazz singer and capable writer, nicely presented in satin dress in the morning, has worked on cruise ships.  Lovely standards and originals in the tradition.  And I'm a sucker for a good song.  Much enjoyed.

Then some diverse things for my ears.  First up Queen Porter Stomp.  Three women up front, three part harmonies and ukelele, trumpet and trombone, three guys in the back line with guitar, bass, drums.  Some nice players I recognise from other outfits, not least Crystal Barreco upfront.  Was she out of Canberra?  I've definitely seen her play here with locals.  Plenty of cut-times, jump music, lovely harmonies, a decent guitar solo thrown in.  Very nice and entertaining.  Light and polished at the Cadia Club.  I am discovering more venues.

And a folkoric twist, singer-songwriter Darren Smith.  I came in late and just heard one song, telling of the #MeToo movement to his young daughter.  Honest and open, strumming and singing.

Kate Wadey, Darren Smith and Queen Porter Stomp played at the inaugural Orange Winter Jazz Festival. Kate Wadey (vocals) performed with Andrew Scott (piano) and  Samuel Dobson (bass).  Queen Porter Stomp comprised Crystal Barreca (vocals, ukulele), Louise Horwood (trumpet, vocals), Rose Foster (trombone, vocals), Aaron Flower (guitar), Alex Masso (drums) and Matt Lamb (bass).  Darren Smith (vocals, guitar) played at the Lord Anson.