29 April 2013


SCUNA presented Bach’s Magnificat and Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum and it got me thinking. The Magnificat is actually the earliest Marian hymn with text from Luke’s Gospel, but in English we can hardly avoid the likeness with the word magnificent which has such common if careless use. So what is magnificent here? I felt the Handel was the “magnificent” one, being outspoken and undiminished and loud and glorious, but really it’s a much simpler work. The Bach is the richer and more complex music and clearly the harder one to perform, with that busily baroque ornamentation and the five soloists. I must listen again but it seemed much more worth the effort. But I loved them both. Megan had a bookgroup mate in the choir and she confirmed the Handel was easier; the Bach was a stretch. But I thought they did worthy justice and the joy of performing such works was clear. The fanfaring trumpets were in the gods, on a balcony above the rest; the soloists to the left came out for their parts; the large choir was arrayed in several rows across the back, behind repetiteur and chamber orchestra and conductor Andrew Koll. The setting was the Anglican church of St Paul’s at Manuka with its impressive organ and large altar area, big enough for all these performers, and bell ringers’ balcony, where the trumpets were located. The annual convention of Australian and New Zealand Association of Bell Ringers, the ANZAB Festival of Bells, had been here for the weekend and I’d heard the eight bells ringing several times but missed the Anzac Day peal. The altar is behind a large arch which I felt may have dulled the sound, but this music is not easily cowered. I particularly enjoyed the elation of timpani and baroque trumpets. A haggard atheist could almost believe God is in this beauty. Certainly Bach and Handel did. I also particularly enjoyed some solo parts: the soprano, of course, because it’s pure and reaches for the Heavens, but also a duo of baritone and alto. At one time, I was stuck by the sinuous melodies outlined by oboe and bassoons. I’d noticed musicians arriving only 10 minutes before the gig, and that looked like cutting it fine. But it all turned out nicely on the night. I felt the orchestra was particularly fine. This is music that oozes joy, and it was just highlighted by hearing SCUNA warm-down by singing their theme in an adjacent room as we departed. A joyous event with music that’s magnificent: Bach’s rich interplay of thoughtful lines and Handel’s sheer forthright declamation and a generous crew to perform it all. Lovely.

The ANU Choral Society (SCUNA) performed JS Bach Magnificat BWV243 and GF Handel Dettingen Te Deum HMV283 at St Paul’s Anglican Church at Manuka with Director Andrew Koll, Keren Dalzell (soprano), Samantha Lestavel (mezzo-soprano), Julia Wee (alto), Norman Meader (tenor), Nicholas Beecher (baritone), Anthony Smith (repetiteur) and Leanne Bear (orchestra leader).

25 April 2013

Whale tales

Ambergris is whale vomit. It was inevitable that we’d be chatting about whales. I was at Politics at the Pub and it was a busy one because Bob Brown was speaking. I was chatting amiably with the woman next to me. It’s like that here. I’ve noticed it before and written of it here. People at Politics in the Pub are informed and quick witted and chatty. I’ve mused that it’s the humour of desperation. Hopefully, that’s just another joke, although I doubt it.

Bob Brown spoke mainly of environmental issues on the ground, but on the election he warned that the polls are giving both houses to Abbott and thus the Senate is key and the Greens are a major player. He spoke of the necessity of politics, because the plutocracy ever grows ever more powerful, and violence is the alternative to democracy. He quoted Churchill with his “democracy as least worst” quote. (I just checked the quote and Churchill is unexpectedly uncommitted: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Sir Winston Churchill, Hansard, November 11, 1947). He promoted involvement in politics. It’s “hard going” but he recommended people “take time and get involved”. He described Christine Milne as “integrity central”. He argued that the Greens, with 12% of the vote, should be represented in the leader debates at election time but predicted they won’t be. He lambasted the current political process (despite his respect for democracy) and the role of media. He showed respect for Gillard, who he has worked with and considers business-like, and derided Abbott: nothing unexpected here.

BB was a conversation with Australia Institute leader, Richard Denniss, finishing with a lengthy Q&A session. Firstly, he was asked of James Price Point. This is when I first noted his quotable nature when talking of the effective Green campaign in the Kimberley: “Lose an environmental battle and you lose forever, win and you fight again”. I noticed that I’d felt the inevitability of many such statements, but maybe that’s a function of desperation. He mentioned the value of tourism compared to logging in the Tarkine, but the recent generosity to loggers. He noted harsh new Tasmanian legislation that will respond to substantial protest by withdrawing all forest reserves. “This is an age of aggressive materialism” that will ravage the planet in a short time. Are we past the tipping point? “Yes. But I’m not sure about it”. “This madness is institutionalised.” He noted that Thatcher had raised an early warning of climate change. He noted that “the trinkets [of materialism] are beguiling” and even admitted his own weaknesses, but asked is it worth the coming mass extinctions. “There’s a lot of defeatism around ... I see a world full of good people doing nothing”. We are amongst the wealthiest people in the history of the world and yet we feel aggrieved.

Then whales. If we can’t protect the largest living moving creatures, what can we protect? He claimed the Japanese broke international and Australian law, yet Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd is stuck in the open sea with the threat of a Japanese arrest warrant. Paul Watson is “on the run” and “there will be more of that this century”. Religion and gay marriage appear to me to be current issues of faith in left politics so I shuddered a little when the issue was inevitably raised by Richard Denniss. But I thought Bob Brown’s response was reasonable, that he recognises a wish for stories but he “parts company” (nice way to put it) when faith insists on rules, denies reason, ie, when it’s dogmatic. And I’m still mulling over his questioning of the legality of celibacy as a condition of employment. That’s a new and interesting twist. He presented quite a challenge in global politics, too. He said he’s been denied visas to Rwanda and China and raised the issue of a global government based on one vote, one voice “and, I think, one planet”. He discussed our limited support for development and noted the harm of drug prohibition, the widespread support for decriminalisation and the unreadiness of politics or media to allow real discussion. He joked about Howard as the next Governor-General - “it makes me proud” – then confirmed that the Republic is inevitable. Then an end with a mention of the Bob Brown Foundation “for impecunious Greenies”.

Unlike many (presumably including the nodding woman near me) I don’t think of BB a saint, but I did find him honest and reasonable and, in my view, correct on many topics, not least climate change and the plutocracy and violence as the unwanted alternative to democracy. I like that he can recognise that Thatcher and Churchill got something right. It suggests a willing broadness and honesty of thought that I don’t hear on the political Right. I’d heard Nick Cater (editor Weekend Australian) interviewed on ABC RN’s Late Night Live just hours before. Listen and despair! Despite climate change and GFC, everything is culture conflict and the ruling latté elite! I’ve thought for some time that the unyielding ideological right is like the Left of mid-20th century in its ascendance and childish unwillingness to admit mistakes. Tony Judt struck me with this quote: “The left … has something to conserve. It is the right that has inherited the ambitious modernist urge to destroy and innovate in the name of a universal project” (What is living and what is dead in social democracy, by Tony Judt, in NY Review of Books, v.56, no.20, 17 Dec 2009). It fits so well here.

20 April 2013

New music from the past

I doubt that I’ve ever heard a trio in this format, at least live. This was the JTL Trio, comprising clarinet, cello and piano, at St Albans on Thursday. These are such different sounds. The piano with its rippling notes and chords and percussive tone. Clarinet with its loud and cutting high-pitch and tongued notes. And the cello, with its bowed softness, low pitches and broad vibrato. Perhaps because they are so different, they sit together well but always sound distinct and identifiable. They started with a Beethoven trio. It was introduced as “early, not tempestuous” and this was clear: light and melodious adm dignified, somewhat like Mozart, with lines that moved in echoes between instruments. They played a string of movements as the trio. Then a duo of clarinet and piano on five modern pieces written by Paul Reade for a TV series called Victorian Kitchen Garden. These pictured the garden environment with titles like Summer and Spring and Mists. We heard birds and spikey exotica and calm days and lazy afternoons in the orchard. Then my favourite for the day, a Schumann Fantasy played by cello and piano, in two movements: tender with expression and quick with fire. Jack introduced it by speaking of a controversy in composition in the mid-19th Century. Apparently on one side was Wagner and the tone poets who sought to tell stories with music; on the other were those (including Schumann) who saw music as abstract, not identifiable or with shared meaning, just notes and sounds, pure and simple. I’ve pondered the same topic and tend to side with Schumann and his ilk, despite playing Night in Tunisia, Autumn in New York, April in Paris, Night and day, Body and soul, even Giant steps. Jazz tunes usually imply something real in their titles, although without words the references can be obscure. Then a final tune, by Max Bruch, performed again as a trio. This was another delightful outing at St Albans, with music and instrumentation that I’ve not heard before. JTL Trio are Tiffany Lick (clarinet), Jack Hobbs (cello) and Lucas Allerton (piano). BTW, congratulations to Louise Page who coordinates these concerts and was otherwise engaged – at Government House being presented with her OAM, no less!

19 April 2013

One year in a town

Despite the best of intentions, I never manage to attend Geoff Page’s poetry sessions at the Gods. But at least I got to the launch of a new book by Geoff the other night at the National Library Bookshop. Geoff is not just a jazz aficionado, promoter of the Gods jazz series and author of Bernie McGann’s biography. He’s also a renowned poet. I know nothing of poetry but I’ve felt an interest of late, and Geoff’s poetry is particularly easy to warm to. My understanding is that he writes long-form verse. What I hear and read is easy and appealing and respectful and broadminded. The book he was launching is called “1953” and is portrait in verse of a country town in that year.

Jack Waterford of the Canberra Times introduced the work. I read Jack’s articles with much pleasure. I find him informed but also calm and humane and sensible. Jack was an obvious choice for this job. He grew up in a country town, often speaks of mid-20th Century Australian rural life and is obviously influenced by it in matters of ethics, community, aboriginal relations and more. So he spoke here: of the war (WW2), the polio scare and the floods; of barber, publican and the woman running the phone exchange; of secrets, layers of history, of adulteries and infidelities; of relationships of Euros and Aborigines. He mentioned Dennis O’Rourke’s film Cunnamulla and the instantly recognisable characters in bush towns. He noted parallels with suburbs of the time, with their own networks of known characters. It’s different now (although there are some hangouts, like Ernie at out local post office). We are more secure, more comfortable and there’s less risk, but we lack that “rich tapestry” of characters and the “conscious[ness] that we were alive”. Geoff’s characters in 1953 may be fictional, but they are not caricatures. They lead rich and complex lives.

Geoff offered some of those characters in readings. The two girls who talk of a third. The gunshop owner who muses on the metal and the skill and the touch of wooden butt to cheek. Auntie Mary, the aboriginal mother, whose son was taken and who now drinks in sympathy with the community. I was struck by the image of a stolen aboriginal girl who could live in the white community “passing as Italian” and by the sense of otherness that was portrayed. And to finish, Geoff’s partner Allison, read “Me”, a rhyming verse of her own childhood of the time. Then another wine, a copy of the book to sign and home. An interesting and thought provoking outing. Geoff Page read poetry; partner Allison read verse; Jack Waterford introduced.

16 April 2013

Show going on

Gossips was booked but Leanne had the lurgie, so it was Jazz Republic with a guest singer, Rachel Thorne, instead. I've heard Rachel around and admired her singing for some time. It's always nice to play with capable new musos. She was good: singing, scat, and a nice take on mixing lines from one song in with another. The songs were mostly old standards. L-O-V-E is a ridiculously cute thing that I’d wanted to play for some time, complete with chromatic key changes. Otherwise Perhaps3, So nice to come home to, Come fly with me, Lullaby of Birdland. Nice standards and well received. We also played several original tunes. Mike debuted three songs: two witty love songs, a swing and a boogie, and one heart-on-the-shoulder ballad. My Sambala got an airing. I was playing solidly so enjoyed the outing and caught some clever solos and fills from Richard. My thing these days is setting the essence of tune, and letting the flourishes and fancy stuff come of their own accord. Slow learner, perhaps, but finally learnt. This was a nice, easy gig for a pleasant audience and I enjoyed it lots. Thanks to Rachel. Rachel Thorne (vocals) sang with Jazz Republic at Bite to Eat. The Republicans are Mike Dooley (piano, vocals), Richard Manderson (saxes), Eric Pozza (bass) and Brenton Holmes (drums).

15 April 2013

Prep 2

Later that evening, I got to Igitur nos rehearsing at All Saints Ainslie for their performance of Bach’s Easter Oratorio and selections from Handel. I wouldn’t have attended the rehearsal, but I melt over Bach choral music and I have a clash with a gig on the day. This was all business: stops and starts; repeats from bar nn; advice on interpretation and introductions; comments and praise and jokes. It’s a working environment and the music is just in segments, but the beauty couldn’t help but show through. They sang in English, but the one soloist I heard, alto Maartje Seventer, was Dutch and her arias were impressive. She was telling me later that she’d lived a 1 hour train ride from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw: obviously a good influence. The choir is accompanied with a neat chamber orchestra of strings, bassoon and oboe, harpsichord, percussion and a pair of baroque trumpets. The trumpets were bliss in Handel towards the end of the night. All timpani and trumpet and exultant fanfares. I was about to leave but was called back by joyous 2-feel and rising sopranos of the Hallelujah Chorus. I usually close my eyes for classical music, but I was rocking my head and smiling for this one. Is this head-banging for the 1600s? I dread that I can’t make the gig but a taste is better than naught and I got the levels for Megan to record on the day.

Igitur nos were rehearsing Bach’s Easter Oratorio BWV249 and selections from Handel’s Coronation Anthems and Messiah at All Saint’s Anglican Church at Ainslie with Matthew Stuckings conducting.

14 April 2013

Prep 1

I attended two rehearsals the other day. One was for a CIMF gig and it was run as a mini concert for friends of the Festival although with a good deal of chatter and friendly banter. The other was a proper rehearsal, all stops and starts and lounging between tunes and no audience.

First was the Canberra International Music Festival gig. The performers were Louise Page, Chris Latham, David Pereira and Tamara Anne Cislowska. The venue was the Ainslie Arts Centre, which is riddled with musical activity so there were sounds of practising or lessons seeping through at times. We could only hear it in the breaks and it didn’t really interfere. In fact, along with the casual dress of the performers, it gave a lovely feeling of industry and musical purpose. The players mixed in various combinations for songs and compositions by a string of woman composers and two males. The theme was “In praise of the feminine” and it’s a major theme for this coming CIMF. Chris gave a wide-ranging introduction: the historical impropriety of women composing; the architectural work of Marion Mahoney Griffin; the association of coffee and musical tempo; the importance of encouragement in musicians’ lives; the sourcing of manuscripts of lesser known composers from archives; relationships to suffragettes, WW1, Yin/Yang, French impressionism and more. They played songs by Amy Beach; a lovely nocturne by Lily Boulanger; an impressionist piece called Midsummer moon by Rebecca Clarke (my favourite); Elena Kats-Chernin’s Blue silence, unusually dedicated to the parents of schizophrenics (Megan’s favourite); Phyllis Campbell and more Rebecca Clarke. We had to leave before the men displayed their feminine side, so we missed David Pereira’s Mt Ainslie rising and Ross Edwards’ Lost man. Unfortunate.

There were nibbles and drinks and Helen representing the C100 Musical Offering. What a superb interlude: capable musicians presenting some very obscure music in a casual space with a fascinating commentary. And nice wines. Chris Latham (violin), Louise Page (soprano), David Pereira (cello) and Tamara Anna Cislowska (piano) praised the feminine in music.

13 April 2013

Two tenors

This was not ten tenors, but it was two tenor saxophonists and it was instructive. Dirk Zeylmans was playing with Richard Gawked. This was a blowing session on well-known jazz standards, comfortable and relaxed, but the playing had the edge of amiable competition that is inevitable and valued in these outings. What I noticed most was the difference in tone and approach of the two tenors. Dirk is smooth and flowing, soft and languid in soloing. I guess he’s influenced by the intimacy of Stan Getz or the like. Richard was harder, bluesy, laid way back, metallic sounding. Someone mentioned Dexter Gordon. When they soloed they were personal expressions and this was interesting. But even more so when they played together on a head, one playing a melody and the other responding with tags or counterpoint, you could feel the different sounds but they merged easily. These are both richly experienced players and it shows. It also showed in their presence on stage, very relaxed although always aware and ears more open than eyes for each other’s performance. It was a mild night and the doors were open to Hippo’s new balcony and they often retreated to stools out back. The playing was serious, of course, but it looked nonchalant in typical jazz style. How could you not like it? The others were no slouches, either. Graham Monger with his crisp and swinging and chord-spelling guitar playing. James Luke doing some great solos with easy technique on double stops and thumb positions and the rest and a sax-like flair for melody. Also John Clark, a steady drummer with a dramatic rock sensibility of extended rolls and strong dynamics in the one solo that I heard. We’ve heard all the tunes before and if anything this makes it a more friendly outing: bop blues, bossa, easy swing, Miss Jones, Night & day, Blue bossa. This was a lovely night of tunes we know and love and an instructive combination of two tenors.

Dirk tells me he’s taking nights at Hippo every month or so with invited horn players. Get to them if you can. These nights are our jazz legacy. Dirk Zeylmans (tenor) invited Richard Gawked (tenor) to play with Graham Monger (guitar), James Luke (bass) and John Clark (drums).

10 April 2013

For the sake of melody

RAAN was one to close my eyes for. I heard them at the Front. It’s small and intimate. There are never many in the audience and the seats are comfy. RAAN mention that they are influenced by a range of jazz styles as well as Indian classical and European music. I know Nitya from way back and I expected no less. There is jazz here, but the chords are basic and long repeated. But harmonies are European; melody is Asian and Indian. Certainly, I could hear jazz in Nitya’s various saxes and flutes, but also a clear Indian influence. I closed my eyes and was taken away. One Alan provided a steady and mostly uncluttered bass from an interesting fretless acoustic bass. Other Allan’s drums sometimes locked the rhythm and gave it ongoing movement. I liked this, even if it’s a sign of a Western orientation. Othertimes, he played more freely, with colour more than solidity. Either, way, it worked. But perhaps the thing I most enjoyed was the interplay of horn and piano. Pianist Raph is an elegant and clear player. I enjoyed how he echoed melodies from Nitya with melodic accuracy and a sharp rhythmic sense. So, with my eyes closed, I heard a more expansive music than I noticed with eyes opened. With eyes opened, the hords were simple and the rhythms repetitive. With eyes closed, the minimal world-music feel became exploratory and coloured and vibrant. There were substitutions and the like, but this was more a modal, melodic exploration. I have, just in recent days, looked again at the simplest of the Patitucci bass etudes to explore the scale degrees that his etudes are based on. In a major, he avoids the tonic as a passing note. In place, he highlights 7ths, 9ths, runs arpeggios outside 1-3-5, all with fingering apt to the double bass. It’s enlightening and the melodies it makes are different. This music had something of the same melodic feel within the scale. Just one scale, perhaps, but more than just obvious chordal notes to explore it. RAAN may sound more world than jazz to me, but it’s all so mixed up these days that these distinctions are of little purpose other than to orientate. RAAN paints a minimal picture, but it’s nicely expansive with eyes closed and ears open. RAAN are Nitya Bernard Parker (saxes, clarinet, flutes), Raph Wong (piano), Alan Lee (bass) and Allan Penicook (drums)

08 April 2013

Jazz band with choir?

I saw a Facebook status comment saying someone was watching jazz with a choir. The friend throught that was pretty strange. It was us! Jazz Republic was playing with the Rhythm Syndicate choir. It was a gig for the C100 Musical Offering, at the Brassey Hotel. Our pianist, Mike, is the accompanist for RS and he drew us in to read charts for a few tunes. It was an interestingly mixed gig. RS sang with Mike for some songs, with JR for about 10 others, and JR played several short sets in between. RS sang standards and rock & roll and early jazz, but also Sting’s Field of gold, with some more complex harmonies. I particularly enjoyed The nearness of you, given it’s such a lovely ballad, and a cute song of innocent film seduction called Baby it’s cold [outside] (girl plans to leave, boy warns of snow and cold, mmm). On the contrary, our JR sets were hot with fast takes on a string of tunes, especially a take on My finest hour at breakneck speed, but also a few funky numbers, Chameleon, of course, and Wayne Shorter’s Adam’s apple. This was fun and good practice in chart reading and hits. A very enjoyable outing at the Brassey. BTW, the first Sunday each month is Big Band afternoon at the Brassey. Good to keep in mind.

Rhythm Syndicate was accompanied by Jazz Republic at the Brassey Hotel. RS is led by Shilong Ye (musical director, conductor) and accompanied by Mike Dooley (piano). JR are Mike Dooley with Richard Manderson (saxes), Eric Pozza (bass) and Brenton Holmes (drums).

06 April 2013

Small world

Our world can be pretty small. I thought of this at the Matt Boden gig at the Loft. Matt is back in Melbourne from Paris and is touring his new CD. He was playing with Leigh Barker, ex-Canberran now in Melbourne, and with Mark Sutton, our local who a Sydney resident at one stage. So that’s already a small world. It became smaller when two faces arrived from NYC: Gordon Webster and Rob Adkins. They were over for a few weekend gigs playing for swing dancers. They tour the world doing just this. I’d seen them at a Grammar School gig when they performed with Adrian Cunningham (NYC ex-Sydney). I’d lent Rob my bass that weekend: wheels within wheels. I used to be involved at Mt Stromlo doing observation for the professionals. It’s a similarly small scene and I remember being surprised to hear there are only ~8,000 professional astronomers in all the world. Jazz is a bigger community but still small and also international. We think of the world as 7 billion people, but communities can be much more intimate.

So what of the gig? I think of this as an old style of jazz, but even modern jazz (~1950s) is now 60 years old. Matt played Jelly Roll, bouncy early jazz, and Monk and standards in between. They were mostly played with the same sense of determined tonality and avid swing and a relaxed gait, with steps to double and half-time, lyrical and frequent solos and commonly swapped fours with drums. This is not the intellectual challenge of new music; we recognise the tunes and the changes are cycling fourths and the heads are attractive and the experience is pleasure. You just sink into the music, enjoying the tasteful beauty of it all, and foot tapping with pleasure and ease. I particularly enjoyed Leigh’s gut-strung bass which was surprisingly loud and present for an unamplified instrument. I think Leigh is the only jazz bassist I hear playing unamplified in a band context. And his lines contained long sequences that flowed easily and consistently. This was very nice playing. Mark was a master with his easy feels and sudden accents and talkative solos. Matt led with easy harmony and calm solo development. All very nice and very swinging. (I followed a few blog posts on swing recently. I think it was Sean Wayland who suggested that clear harmonic changes on the 1 (and 3 or other) enhance swing. That’s something I’m now pondering.) Further, if you don’t know your history, you are much poorer for it. This is our jazz history that’s too easily ignored. There was just one tune that surprised me with a modern presence, towards the end, a triple time tune with more meandering and sophisticated harmonies that may have been original and then the final take on Stomping at the Savoy with a modernist bass obbligato underneath. Nice. Gordon and Rob also sat in for a few tunes. Firstly, Gordon with Leigh and Mark on A kiss to build a dream on, which built from delicate piano to almost frantic. Then Rob joined in, then Rob with Matt and Mark. Someone said to me it’s amazing that jazz players can do this, after all, they only met over a beer at the interval. But jazz jams are like this: the standard repertoire taken for an outing.

The Loft is a particularly small part of the international jazz world, but it’s still a place for Paris to meet with NYC with the help of Melbourne. Very much like Stromlo, actually, at least before the fire. Matt Boden (piano) led a trio with Leigh Barker (bass) and Mark Sutton (drums). Visitors Gordon Webster (piano) and Rob Adkins (bass) sat in for a few tunes.

05 April 2013

Occasional muster

It’s been infrequent, recently, this meeting of old friends. The ANU Faculty staged a reunion for Geoff Page’s Jazz at the Gods series. It wasn’t all of the faculty, but most of the core group. I haven’t heard John for a while. He and other remaining staff are madly busy with restructuring the music school. I can only wish them all well. The blurb suggests there’s a new and exciting approach on offer and all praise if that occurs. I can only see it as a hard road, but we’ll see over coming years. In the meantime, the effects on Canberra culture are clear to see.
But back to the concert. I’ve heard Miro more recently, up close, and written of that. James G was down from Sydney, making a memorable entry after being held up in Sydney traffic: the peripatetic jazz life. Plus Mike on his crisp, unsullied guitar. And James L and Mark, two of the busiest players around. I needn’t write much about these people or these tunes. I’ve heard and written of them many times here. Geoff Page mentioned this group was the core of the jazz renaissance over the last decade or so in Canberra. It’s deeply threatened now, of course, but maybe that’s how jazz is these days. How often to we hear that jazz is dead? It’s Easter so you think resurrection. Jazz seem to be continually resurrecting. Or another way to put it may be that real art never dies. There are always aficionados and steadfasts and tragics. This was heavy breathing on the stage even if the oxygen’s thin on Canberra’s jazz peaks these days.

BTW, the tunes were Footprints, Invitation, Alone together and You don’t know what love is (set 1), and Tenor madness, Body & soul, All the things you are, On Green Dolphin Street and Solar (set 2). All mid-century blowing standards. I was touched by Miro’s head on Body & soul and John’s sparse solo. It’s easy to forget amongst the fireworks that John can be so lyrical. I bopped with Mike’s Alone together, and thrilled with James G’s playful and pitch perfect solos. We all admired James L’s bowed solo on You don’t know what love is and some lively and lengthy solos, especially in the second set, and I was mightily impressed as I closely watched Mark’s strong but delicate stick play on Tenor madness. The opportunity to hear these guys is getting less frequent. Take it while you can. These were old friends, both tunes and players, but goodies.

The ANU Faculty Reunion featured John Mackey (tenor), James Greening (trombone), Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet, flugelhorn), Mike Price (guitar), James Luke (bass) and Mark Sutton (drums).