29 December 2011

One that got away

The band was the New Cabal and the venue was The Boheme Bar in Adelaide. I literally arrived as the last note was fading away, so I can’t say anything about the band. I was delayed and they presumably played the standard two sets. But I mention the night because of the interesting venue. The Boheme is dark and intimate: Parisian chic with a bedraggled edge. Think bentwood chairs, framed monochrome photos and lots of heavy drapery. It’s another intriguing Adelaide venue and definitely one to check out on Wednesday nights, when Chris Soole and the New Cabal play their residency. I was pretty annoyed but I calmed down with a beer and a chat to guitarist Fred. It didn’t help to hear that the band had played well on the night. I’ll put it down as an exercise in frustration. There’s tons of good jazz everywhere, and this is just one that got away. So the message is: If you’re visiting Adelaide, The Boheme on Wednesdays seems well worth a visit.

  • http://www.labohemebar.com.au/
  • 28 December 2011

    Rundle Maul

    You can get a mauling in Rundle Mall when the sales are on. You need some calming recuperation, and I got it this year from two buskers: violinist Agnieszka Kosacka and Stickist Andy Salvanos. Firstly, Agnieszka. I was initially attracted by the strong and authoritative sound of her violin. I noticed it was assisted by a pickup and amplification, but this was firm technique which was just confirmed by some well balanced and evenly arpeggiated bowing over multiple strings. Agnieszka is Polish and a professional. She plays weddings, funerals and the like. Just proof of the great classical training they are renowned for in Eastern Europe. The next encounter was both short and unexpected. This was Andy Salvanos playing a Chapman Stick. These are uncommon instruments. This Stick was only the second I remember encountering, although I know them moderately well from ads in guitar mags. Sticks come in 10- and 12-string versions. The original 10-string Classic Stick tuning was five melody strings in descending 4ths and five bass strings in ascending 5ths, although all manner of tunings are possible. Andy was playing a 10-string. You play it by tapping chords and bass lines and melodies with right and left hands. The sound was rich in harmony and accompaniment, guitar-like in tone and almost pianistic in musical structure. I found it quite unexpectedly attractive. Again, a civilised interlude amongst the so-busy shoppers.

    Agnieszka Kosacka (violin) and Andy Salvanos (Chapman Stick) were busking in Rundle Mall soon during the post-Christmas sales.

    27 December 2011

    What can you do?

    I didn’t find it unexpected when one of the Lonely Cosmonauts said this. His words “What can you do?” were voiced as knowing and wry and lightly dispirited. Maybe the Right will have its turn, what with the GFC and Climate change and Peak all. The Left has had a bad run but history can turn on a sixpence.

    I don’t usually attend music of this style. The Lonely Cosmonauts are somewhere in the blues-folk tradition. They tell stories. They play shuffles and rocky rhythms and feature harmonies and the tunes are short. Not like jazz at all. But I liked the stories, partly because they are close to me as an ex-Adelaide person, and partly because they speak to everyman. And the patter was intimate, jokey, Aussie pub fare, I thought. The main singer, Don Morrison, told us he grew up around Magill and went to a Catholic school, and he shared this with Paul Kelly. He’d also spent time in bands in Melbourne, and gone to parties at PK’s house and even visited Molly Meldrum, so he’d done the rock thing. These days he sings knowing tunes and leads this authentic local band and builds resonator guitars. This is the real rock life, I thought: mature entertainers at a local, interesting pub. The song about looking down on Adelaide going about its business from the Kensington Road hilltop was close to my heart. But you had to enjoy the stories of picking up a girlfriend (Collecting Alby) or the borderline depressive Happy birthday to me where he sings of blowing out all the candles as a boy, then blowing out all the chances as an adult. Or the one entitled “I haven’t been sober since the day before my wedding” that spoke of a wife-to-be who backed out at the last minute. These are men’s songs of wry and laconic self-deprecation: very Australian; not at all American despite the Delta stylistic references. There was one tune that sounded all the world like classic ‘70s Chain, in voice and groove, along with the shuffles and rock grooves, steady, laid back, slow music and rocky up-tempo numbers. There was even country where the band told of visiting Tamworth, lining up for everything, and hearing a mélange of styles, and finally giving up on this Country Road. I luxuriated in a particularly lovely slow take on Led Zep’s Been a long time. And that dejected left-wingers’ patter. The bravado of the band’s role in getting Mike Rann out of office (only recently ex-SA premier) and the US out of Iraq. But the cosmonauts tag was not for nothing. I spoke to bassist Michael Saies. Their current CD is Columbus of the Cosmos and it’s all red and formal and bedecked with pics of cosmonauts in uniform and dedications to Yuri Gagarin and the lesser-known Alexei Leonov. I’m not sure I caught the story correctly, but the band wanted to visit Moscow and play in Red Square to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s fight manned space flight (12 April 1961). I don’t think the whole band could get there, but then the Left knows its high ambitions and dignified failures. A nice band, but even nicer Aussies. I liked the Lonely Cosmonauts.

    I liked the pub, too. It was the Wheatsheaf Hotel. Long established, real beers on tap and no cocktails or pokies, a not-much-glorified tin shed for the music, bare floors and sparse furnishings and an inner-city clientele in an industrial area just outside the CBD. Well worth a visit for the eclectic music. They invite bands to play (“no cover bands or ultra-loud combos please”) and the audience ranges widely from inner city shaved to aged hirsute rocker. It’s a nice earthy cosmopolitan feel.

    The Lonely Cosmonauts are Don Morrison (vocals, guitar), Michael Saies (bass, vocals), John “Dingo” Van Bowman (guitar, vocals), Phil Bray (keyboards, accordion, vocals), and Andy Przygonski (drums) and they played at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Thebarton.

  • Wheatsheaf Hotel
  • Don Morrison's resonator guitars

  • 23 December 2011

    Grand Bar

    I’m in Adelaide for Christmas, and last night I came across Georgina Aué playing a piano bar set. And what a strange set of events led to this! When he heard I was going to Adelaide, Miro Bukovsky suggested I look up John Aué. John is the bass teacher at the local jazz school at the Elder Conservatorium. I noticed Georgina’s name in the Advertiser’s gigs list, found a reference on the Net to her jazz trio, guessed that Georgina might be related to John (he's her father), guessed that the “Grand Bar” might be the cocktail bar at the local Stamford Grand and there she was. It was latish and she was finishing her set, so I just caught a few tunes: a Beatles number (was it Day tripper?), September in the rain and Come away with me. I enjoyed the Beatles (who doesn’t?) and was interested by Georgie’s piano on the more jazzy September... Norah Jones is not so much my cup of tea, but it’s popular fodder and Georgina likes her. It’s hard work – a solo gig on piano and voice – and Georgina had just finished a full day’s work at another job, but that’s the muso’s life. This was effective piano bar music - capable voice and piano with a relaxed presence and a popular repertoire - and she got thanks from departing revellers so she was going over well. Nice to meet Georgina and I enjoyed the classy atmosphere, even if my preference is a beer.

    17 December 2011

    Fine and spacious

    When Lucian McGuiness brought his quartet to the Loft, he had given it a name: Impermanent Quartet. I like that. It speaks of change and this band is aware of change. Where there’s change, there’s no end of history, and I felt an awareness of history in this sound.

    The band is trombone, alto, bass and drums so it’s chordless. This lineup lends the sound an indistinct, open feeling and leaves lots of space. I heard the guys filling with delicious harmonies and counterpoint, a quite surprising empathy from the two horns and an easy, unforced, but inquisitive take on melody. This was not the jazzer as individualist heroic soloist. This was soloist as a searcher for purposeful lines and as a bouncing musical collaborator. There’s a reason for the responsiveness of the horns to each other. Lucian and Dan had played together from schooldays, through music school and into professional life. There were a few points where I felt the found harmonies and the unison lines were so close as to be telepathic. I hadn’t picked it up, but Alex mentioned a similar relationship between trom and bass. The high bass notes reach into tenor territory shared with trombone, and Alex spoke of enjoying this interplay. Even the drums came in on this, when spaces opened for tiny two or four bar solos. I heard history in the simple melodic concepts, but the present in some unexpected intervals and structures and a certain ironic humour in the take on melody. There was history, too, in the collective soloing, although the twisting and weaving through rich syncopations and polyrhythms was modern. I wasn’t surprised to hear a Dave Holland tune, because there’s a similar web of sound woven by that band, or to hear tunes by trombonists Nils Wogram or Bob Brookmeyer. But most tunes were by Lucian. I guessed it was a standing joke that the tunes had human names: James, Angel, Ray, Paul, Charlie and Victoria. Victoria was a lovely slow unison melody. I heard hints of Zoe Hauptman’s Buttercups and wondered if this might be a Sydney style, but the Hauptmans were also in Lucian’s school band/music school milieu and they still play together, so maybe it’s just this Canberra/Sydney coterie. What other impressions? Strongly syncopated pedals on bass and some wonderful bass solos there were common when the two horns dropped out; plenty of changes of time – fours and sixes and a five; easy swings and pre-bop sensibility on the Brookmeyer tune; volume at a subdued human level; careful articulation that confirmed for me their concern with melody.

    This was open, informed, approachable music with a deceptive simplicity and I loved it. The Impermanent Quartet was led by Lucian McGuiness (trombone) with Dan Junor (alto sax), Alex Boneham (bass) and Jamie Cameron (drums).

    16 December 2011

    Spelling Christmas c-a-r-o-l-s

    It’s Christmas and that spells carols. They are lovely in their serenity or profundity or frivolity or sheer joy, and singing them is an annual treat. I caught a concert by Louise Page at lunchtime at St Albans Anglican Church, and she was joined at various points by a sweetness of sopranos, both students and ex-students. So this was both pleasing to hear as entertainment and intellectually satisfying as an exploration of diverse voices. The classical soprano is a unique voice. Strong and high, cutting easily through choirs and orchestras, it’s something special. It’s almost instrumental rather than human, proud like the violin, haughty, swelling and unstoppable, beautiful and pure, frequently unintelligible and otherwordly, but glorious and overwhelming. (This becomes literal in the film, The Fifth Element, when Sarah Brightman’s voice merges with synthesizer and soars to an impossible pitch as an alien soprano). Soprano is not a voice of jazz. Jazzers are far more rooted to the earth. Soprano is a cultural peak product, something that demands and rewards time and understanding. The immense vibrato, too, is a thing of beauty but unreality which it shares it with modern classical strings, and increasingly with jazz that’s rediscovering vibrato after Miles’ rejection in the ‘50s. But I diverge.

    This was quite a range of songs. Louise started with Joy to the world. Piano accompanist, Phillipa Candy, had arranged this with screeds of diatonic chords that rippled up and down the keyboard. I liked this, as I liked her accompaniment for the whole concert: capable and responsive, while obviously reading the charts. By the end of the session, I noticed, too, how rich and relatively deep and mature was Louise’s voice. All these voices could fill this small room with power and volume, but Louise’s was that much more even and purposeful in her interpretations. I chuckled that the words (Italian or English) remained unintelligible, but the quality was undeniable. Then on through a range of songs: some Australian carols including Wilfred Holland’s Bethlehem that I know from choir days; the common but delicious Bach/Gounod Ave Maria that Louise dedicated to birthing mothers; even pop hits like O come all ye faithful. And through several other, very differently sounding soprano voices. I particularly liked the tune No lullaby need Mary sing, by Joseph Clockey, that displayed unexpected modern melody. Katherine Warren sang that one. O Holy night, by Adolphe Adam, has to be my favourite carol. Julia Wee sang that one. There were humourous ones, like the rejigged lyrics of My true love gave to me, which Louise introduced wryly “for all the mercenary habits we’ve come to accept”. Louise claimed one of her favourites was Robert MacGimsey’s Sweet little Jesus boy, which is written as a black American spiritual with blue notes. There were also songs I think I’ve never heard, perhaps not surprising given the paucity of carolling in my life. I doubt I’ve ever heard Little road to Bethlehem, by Michael Head, which Pamela Andrews sang. I loved it when when we heard some harmonies. First was The silver stars, by William James, where Louise and Sarah Campbell sang together. Then the audience singalong led by pairs of singers with raised voices throughout the chapel. Everyone has to know these superhits: The first Noel; Hark the herald angels sing; O come all ye faithful. That was fun all round. Complete with Louise authoritatively singing a complex counterpoint that had me striving to hold the tune.

    What a lovely and satisfying way to while away a lunchtime. Immensely better than … ugh … Christmas shopping. Louise Page (soprano) led various combinations of the sopranos Katherine Warren, Pamela Andrews, Julia Wee, Sarah Campbell and Petra Lindsay with the accompaniment of Phillipa Candy (piano).

    11 December 2011

    On the other foot

    Pics by Phil Jones

    I’m usually the bloke taking pics of bands, but when Sax & the Citizens (Gossips’ instrumental quartet) played a private gig the other night, Phil Jones of the Travelling School of Photography was busy with his camera on us. He was lucky to have spotlights in the back garden so there was plenty of light. Phil gave me a CD of pics before he left. Here’s just one. Thanks, Phil. Nicely done.


    10 December 2011

    Eternal triangle

    The eternal triangle of jazz has to be the piano trio.

    Pen Island played the other night at the Loft and they are a piano trio, but they are exuberant and fun and virtuosic and iconoclastic, so they didn’t feel so eternal, except maybe when they played Tony Williams’ beautiful tune, PeeWee, or their own gentle, thoughtful tune called Gloria’s whole. Most of their originals were dissonant and hugely energetic and richly improvised so they felt far more transient. They played a few known tunes, too, in this style. Autumn leaves was one. Now we all know Autumn leaves: no jazz musician could pass his training without it. Pen Island played it, but I had no idea where the tune was or what were the chords or the melody. I asked Brett later, and apparently he had played the chords backwards (starting with the last chord and reading left and up), extending each chord to four bars, and Gerard had played the melody in inversion. Then they’d improvised over that. The first set had been one long improv. Brett confirmed: no key, no preconceptions, just big ears. They finished with Skylark which should be as identifiable as Autumn leaves to my (smaller) ears. This had Brett playing the melody (“fairly freely”) then a solo, then piano playing the tune over a flattened bass riff (b5, b9?). But again, all richly improvised and heavily substituted so I only caught hints of melody during the first bass chorus. Bad Plus came to mind with their knavish energy, and I heard their atonal clamour a few times, but this was more unconventional, more extreme, more challenging. I loved it but I didn’t always understand it. I could hear extensions on bass and sequences on piano and lots of rock-influenced drum grooves and even a few walks. They were clear enough. But the whole was far more enveloping. There was some real beauty at times that took you back amongst the delirious energy. There was a bass tone to die for: big and round and clear as day. There was harmonic cleverness and massed 20th century dissonance from piano. There was a wonderful drum solo at the end that developed on Miles’ coloured and sometimes disjunctive style. There was a precision in the rests and returns that surprised and pleased me. There was some tuneful playing with obvious skills, but that lyricism was a surprise. These were players searching the boundaries with only ears to survive by and doing it at breakneck speed. Exhilarating and devilish and daring.

    Canberra has its Parliamentary Triangle, and Pen Island has its Eternal Triangle and looking at their album cover had not only me thinking of another eternal triangle. Pen Island was intellect and extremity and skills and a stretch for many, but it was fabulous. Pen Island is Gerard “Phantom Jazz” Masters (piano), Brett “Lumberjack” Hirst (bass) and Miles “Stallion” Thomas (drums).

    In passing

    Canberra is not NYC or even Melbourne, but I can occasionally catch two interesting gigs in a night. After Pen Island it was Andy Campbell’s JUBB at Smith’s Bookshop. I only caught part of the set, but this was steady mid-tempo fusion with attractive melodies, often played as sweet unison by guitar and tenor, with lyrical and mostly restrained solos and several long crescendos. I wondered if the potent guitar chording defined much of the sound. Andy presented all original tunes: Led Zep (an obvious and deserved dedication); Grey ghost; PP2 (a new version of an earlier tune called Pool party). The final tune was Darcy, written about Andy’s dog, and it seemed a different composition from the others. It was something like a shuffle in 5/4 with variations. Andy volunteered that Darcy is a happy dog and you could feel canine revelry in those variations. This was satisfying fusion with attractive melody and Andy’s amiable presence. Andy Campbell (guitar, compositions) leads JUBB with Max Williams (tenor), Chris Pound (bass) and Luke Keanan-Brown (drums).

    Hear JUBB

    07 December 2011


    Bands are unique as each player is unique. I noticed this particularly with James Annesley’s band when it played at the Gods. The second tune was the lovely old Bye bye blackbird and it started with Tom on bass accompanying James on soprano sax. I could hear the strains of an authentic ‘50s jazz bar here. More Shorter than Coltrane (although I heard strains of Trane in other tunes) and a simple but nicely taut bass. Then Hugh came in on drums, maintaining the feel of the era, even visually as he sat over the kit, toms forming a pretty flat surface with the snare and the cymbals laid low. This feel faded but the individuality of the band firmed when Other Hugh came in. Other Hugh is Hugh Stuckey on a guitar that sounds more recent with searing fusion solos of long lines softened with digital echo. So I heard mixed eras but what else is music these days? The tunes, too, varied over eras. The first set had several covers: early and modern standards like Bye bye blackbird and Impressions and a funky Tutu to end the set. The second set was heavy with originals and these floated with colour and landscape: mostly single chord grooves, some with odd times or contorted turnarounds. The band played through these charts, almost as a medley. I caught few titles when listed later. I think one original was called Erin’s enthusiasm and I could really feel a kid’s enthusiasm in the 7/4 groove and occasional contortions and endless inquisitiveness in the sax solo. I liked the way the band was busy but gentle: busy with Other Hugh’s forthright guitar against Tom’s doggedly solid bass but there was also obvious Coltranesque spirituality from James on soprano. I enjoyed the drum solos, too. First Hugh cut time into triplet feels and rolls that just dropped out of the rhythm. There was colour in the choice of drums, but mostly this feeling of falling through the skins and through the tempo. The overall feel of the night for me was modern with delicious band dynamics: often quiet, reserved, moving with colours and landscapes, but also outspoken with that forceful guitar and its broad sweeping arpeggios and dissonant sequences. This was comfortable and inventive playing with a really solid, steady underlay. Modern, occasionally brash sounds that spoke also with the language of a swing era. Somewhat like the cocktail of this title.

    James Annesley (tenor, soprano saxes) led a quartet with Hugh Stuckey (guitar), Tom Lee (bass) and Hugh Harvey (drums).

  • Cyberhalides Jazz Photos by Brian Stewart
  • 06 December 2011

    Degrees of separation

    It’s common enough to hear tell of six degrees of separation. Some people even know of Stanley Milgram’s Small world experiment, but it was also a topic of study by Mandelbrot (of fractals fame) and others. Recently I happened on two articles* which confirmed the thesis using the Facebook community as a very large study group. The finding was an average separation of 4.73 between individuals in geographically and age-determined groups, although I imagine the use of an online social tool at a relatively early stage of life may have influenced the results. I experienced several examples of the d-of-s thesis over this last weekend when I attended a Year 12 reunion in Adelaide (I won’t say which one – it’s not pretty).

    First example. The reunion was in a pub near the old school. A band started up in the afternoon playing Stevie Wonder and the like for a large and enthusiastic audience. I’d noticed some particularly impressive bass warm-ups then effective, interesting and lengthy bass solos. The band was Zkye & the Guyz and the bassist was Damien Steele Scott. He had studied at the tertiary jazz school in Adelaide and was proud to have lived off his music since his studied, so no surprise that he played a mean bass. But not just that: he’d attended the same school as our reuniting group.

    Second example. One of our crew spoke of a musical family and one of them had been playing that afternoon in a concert with the Norwood Symphony Orchestra. It’s a community orchestra and they were performing Beethoven’s violin concerto, Bellini and Coleridge-Taylor. So when we four musketeers, Val, John, Peter and I took off later for a coffee on The Parade, we could easily identify viola player Damien and cellist Elen at the local bar. Circles within circles.

    Third and more disappointing example. I am not religious but I attended a Catholic (Jesuit) school and I respect tradition so I was disappointed to see a stained glass window that had been funded by the family of one of our reunionists had been sold to this pub by the Church. The original physical Church building that held these windows had been deconsecrated and the remains sold off, and this particular result, the relocation of these windows at a pub, was not well received by the family. There it was, behind the band, six stained glass windows with some very significant religious imagery and the names of memorialised families. And the pub’s name painted onto the glass. It seems disrespectful to me and was taken so by the relevant family.

    The Facebook-Degrees of separation studies were by Ugander, Backstrom and others*. The band was Zkye & the Guyz comprising Zkye Compson-Harris (vocals), Damien Steele Scott (bass), Peter Grimwood (guitar) and Andrew Bignell (drums). The Norwood Symphony Orchestra performers were Damien Day (viola) and Elen Shute (cello). The reunionists were Eric, Peter, Rod, John, Ian, Chris, Mick, Michael, John and Val. The musketeers were Eric, Peter, Val and John.

    *The Anatomy of the Facebook Social Graph / Johan Ugander, Brian Karrer, Lars Backstrom, Cameron Marlow, http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.4503 viewed 8 Dec 2011. Four Degrees of Separation / Lars Backstrom et al, http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.4570 viewed 8 Dec 2011.

    02 December 2011

    Best way to end the term 1

    I only catch The Phoenix and TAFE when I see something of particular interest but I usually enjoy it when I do. The music course at Canberra Institute Of Technology (CIT) had an end-of-year concert where the faculty played with students performing mostly original tunes by the students. My mate mike is doing some composition studies and he was presenting two tunes. Mike’s were more complex, filmic sounding tunes. One lovely ballad, Soliloquy, that we’ve played in Gossips, and a complex structured piece in 7/4 with various time changes. The rest of the night was not like that. It was more rock and blues and pop, which I can only enjoy, and then the ending. More on that later.

    So who were the performers? The faculty was a great little band. I’m sure the rehearsals would not have been extensive. I know that they had just a short time with Mike’s tunes and they were obviously the most complex and Greg was preparing by reading through dots in the break. Many of the other tunes were the daily grind for players with this experience and they were played with eminently solid grooves, plenty of colour and some great solos. James Luke was solid and wonderfully authoritative and often playful on a 6-string Modulus bass with classic SWR/4x10 presence. This was a delightfully varied performance of chords, slaps, pops, thumbs, fingerfunk over 24-frets and six strings but always with an unrelenting groove in mind. Dan McLean was fabulous on trumpet. He used mute on one ballad and a rotary-valved flugelhorn on another, but it was mostly hugely blues-inflected, growly trumpet. This was really strong playing in an idiom that doesn’t see lots of trumpet. Third year student AJ (Adrian Tonkovicz) was on drums and was also eminently solid and steady with a punchy amplified kick, as is called for in a rock/blues style, although he could have let loose a bit more for my jazz-atuned ears. I found both Troy Hambly and Greg Stott were taking a back-line rhythmic role, or at least were not loud and out front and centre, but both blew the audience away with fast and furious solos when they let go. Troy impressed me as musical director / conductor with the dynamics and coordination he imparted, a common role for pianists, and played some great rhythmic two-handed solos out of the R&B songbook. Greg is a stunner with sweeps and fast screaming guitar and there was some of this, although mostly he was playing more cleanly with a bluesy approach. Either way, terrific and exciting guitar playing. He also filled rhythmic duties on a cajun rhythm box at times although this was not too prominent amongst the other players.

    The faculty band from the CIT Music School was Troy Hambly (keyboard), James Luke (bass), Dan McLean (trumpet, flugelhorn), Greg Stott (guitar) and third year student AJ (Adrian Tonkovicz, drums)

    Best way to end the term 2

    Danni Paryce started the show by singing a version of Cry me a river with a notably strong voice. Belinda Whyte sang two tunes with offsiders. A James Morrison soul tune called You give me something, and her original called Rise above. Her voice was nicely even and controlled and I enjoyed the sweet harmonies from Ruth then Lauree. Maddie Smeltink presented a totally different style, a quizzical old-style swing original about a modern day temptress called All about Eve. I must admire her for her for being so catholic in her tastes. Alex Cowell presented a very attractive original balled. Alex is the daughter of well-known local blues singer, Judy Pierce, so I’m not surprised that she showed such maturity and presence. By the end of the night, she’d sung numerous other tunes with confidence and real enjoyment for her and the dancing audience. Entertainment is much more than just musical skill and Alex carried it over with considerable panache. Ruth O’Brien sang Winter blues with a nicely authentic bluesy feel. Lauree Stuart sang another original ballad called Perfect, and Mike Walsh led his fusion original that reminded me of Corea and gave space for some nice indulgent solos from the band and beaming smiles from Mike.

    The second set started with two originals by Mike Dooley. Mike is a seasoned player and it showed in the richness of composition, his leadership on the bandstand and his capable horn-like right hand solo lines. Miles away was a moody 7/4 with plenty of changes and Soliloquy was a lovely ballad. It was no surprise to me when Troy Hambly introduced Mike as not seeming like a student. Maggie Jeffs sang Fatts Waller’s Ain’t misbehavin’ as a rocky 12/8 and Gershwin’s Summertime with obvious and attractive Amy Whitehouse influences. The band then played a gentle and pretty original instrumental number by Lauree called Swan waltz. How interesting that a singer writes an instrumental. Simon Weaving sang a working class singer-songwriter tune, and Alex returned to present an original song by drummer AJ, although with apologies for not learning and performing the middle rap due to gender issues. Wouldn’t be alone there. The formal program ended with Simon returning to sing Ian Dury’s Hit me with your rhythm stick with that hugely funky bass line.

    Then it was on for one and all for a long, unplanned medley of funk and rock and disco and good times. This really was a blast: dancing in the aisles, requests and passing of mics, lots of good muso memory and a few searches for chords and riffs, punchy fingerfunk bass, Mitch Canas amongst other visitors, rotating singers and harmonies and tons of smiles and laughter and joshing all round. What tunes? The intense funk of Rhythm stick started it, then over the next 30 minutes or so I noted Play that funky music, Superstition, Purple haze, Californication, Beat it!, My Sharona, Groove is in the heart, Sex machine and perhaps another half dozen. All pulled out of the hat or called as requests. Not too obscure, but nicely done at no notice. So? Great night, impressive playing and much fun. Just as the end of term should be.

    Students and faculty from the CIT Music School included Danni Paryce, Maddie Smeltink, Alex Cowell, Ruth O’Brien, Lauree Stuart and Maggie Jeffs (singers), Adrian Tonkovicz (drums) and Mike Walsh (guitar). Mitch Canas (vocals) sat in.