Monday, 30 May 2011

Valley Jazz

This past weekend saw the Valley Jazz Festival roll around. I have at times been known to bemoan the lack of a jazz scene in Brisbane, but despite that I had been very lax about planning to get along to a festival within a half hour walk of my apartment. Fortunately, on Wednesday Paul got me interested in a gig, which resparked my enthusiasm and got me more into the proper spirit of things. In the end, over the course of the festival I managed 5 gigs - all at the Judith Wright Centre, 2 wednesday night and 3 Saturday night.

The first gig Wednesday night was the Mark Isaacs Resurgence band, a 5 piece lead by Isaacs on piano. Their stuff was pretty good - I was particularly impressed by James Muller on guitar - amazing chops - and the drummer, whose name I don't recall, but who really had a good groove going, and did interesting things with his solos.

After that, there was a free gig in the Centre's Shopfront Centre by the Marialy Pacheco Trio. I had seen her play a gig last December, mostly solo then a couple of tunes with a percussionist, but I'd been looking forward to seeing her trio, with Pat and Joe Marchisella, both really good players who I've met and seen play through Paul. The format works pretty well, too - despite not being quite as invested in his music as he has been, Pat is still such a great and tasteful player. They had a really nice, and unexpected, adaptation of Sounds of Silence, just before we called it a night.

The first Saturday night gig was Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra with Kristin Berardi. Paul studied with Kristin, and used to gig with her when I lived with him at Ironside St in St Lucia - she has a wonderful voice, and has done some great things since that time, winning some competitions and generally becoming a better singer. The band itself was OK, a 17-piece (all male, strange!), but perhaps not quite up to the standard I had expected (Paul had hyped them up a bit) - probably only 4 or 5 of the soloists impressed me.

After that gig I had planned to see Misinterprotato's free set in the shopfront area, but it was full, so I had to wait for some people to leave before I could get in. I have an album or two of theirs - all 3 of them were at the con with Paul, and used to show up from time to time at Ironside St, although that was a long time ago. They're great players - Pat Marchisella, in particular, is one of my favourite bass players - but at times they can tend to be a bit atmospheric and not get as much of a groove going as I'd like. This concert was probably the best of theirs I'd seen though - Sean's composition has improved, I think, and they really got some nice stuff going - still very much at the quiet end, but not too lost in soundscape-y stuff.

The third gig, the Aaron Goldberg Trio, was far and away the best. Goldberg is such an amazing pianist, and Paul's forewarnings about his sidemen, Greg Hutchison on drums and Reuben Rogers on bass, being pretty famous, were well-justified. They played a mix of stuff off Goldberg's two most recent albums, plus a couple of blues bits, with a range of fast stuff that really let them show off - especially Goldberg and Hutchison - and some slower, often latin stuff, where Rogers really, really impressed me with his solo-ing. Overall, they really were a cut above, and I was glad that I didn't miss this.

I have some hopes of getting along to see Ron Carter in a couple of weeks, but if not, I can be happy that I've gotten a fill of good jazz to tide me over for a while.


Miriam Zolin said...

Hey Jim - good post! Check out for more Australian jazz info. We're always looking for writers and would love to have you do a review or an article for us... Best wishes Miriam

bernard hemensley said...

just clicked on to you this early morning via extempore & brother kris hemensley ( collected works), i'll endeavour to get with scene in Oz - i have the poetry already of course.