It’s an interesting task to collect my five most significant jazz experiences of 2010. I can revisit my memories easily enough through my blog (CanberraJazz.net), which is as much a record for me as reports for others, but the selection is the hard part. These are my most intense memories as I scan through my blog, but there’s an inevitable subjectivity. They may not be the most renowned players (viz. Shorter, Patitucci, Jamal, Marsalis aren’t included) but they are significant and they all said something special to me on the night.
Steve and Hannah visited Canberra from hometown Brisbane, which seems to be undergoing a cultural renaissance. Just a bar gig in a noisy environment, but I loved the intriguing lyrics and complex electronics that made a duo into a looped orchestra and harmonised choir. All confirmed on the CD which they were promoting. This is jazz training applied to electronica-cum-pop with considerable profundity. Read more on CanberraJazz.net >>>
Spellbinding and touching singing with a fabulously capable and understated backing band of Matt McMahon, Jonathon Zwartz and Hamish Stewart. Somewhere in the area of R&B/soul but again with great jazz playing, including one of my favourite bassists (I have to admit that I play bass). Read more on CanberraJazz.net >>>>
An eye-opening visit to free playing. Chris Abrahams, Mike Majkowski and James Waples introduced one tune each and the developments were detailed and responsive and deeply communicated between musos and to the audience. I can struggle with minimalism and free, but this was clear and purposeful and deeply satisfying. Read more on CanberraJazz.net >>>>
Sandy started the night with her trio of Brett Hirst and Toby Hall, and these were great tunes and wonderfully played. But it was the performance of her CD-length suite, ‘When the sky cries rainbows’, that floored me. It comprises about a dozen pieces or themes that tell of personal tragedy around illness. It was obviously deeply felt and wonderfully played by a very sympathetic group. The trio was joined by Miroslav Bukovsky, James Greening and Luke Sweeting for the most touching musical experience of my year. Read more on CanberraJazz.net >>>>
I visited London during the year and lucked on a great night of jazz. The first duo included a graduate of our own local Jazz School at the ANU, now playing the London theatre scene, pianist Mike Guy. The second band was a quartet led by singer Anjali Perrin with Ross Stanley, Davide Mantovani and Enzo Zirilli. The band was just thrown together but made up of some of the best on the London scene. I remember great grooves and intriguing solos, but especially intelligent rearrangements and reharmonisations of the most common of tunes (‘Autumn leaves’, ‘Love for sale’, ‘Never will I marry’, etc) that played with the audience’s memories. These were standards performed with great invention and easy skills. Read more on CanberraJazz.net >>>>
That’s my five. But there’s so much more: Australian Youth Orchestra performances their summer camp; concerts by Jacam Manricks, Vocal Sampling, Vertical, Marcin Wasiliewski, Pan Francis, Java Quartet, Paavali Jumppanen and many others; Henry IV Pt 1 at the Globe in London under the rain; many gigs by local musos including staff and students at the ANU Jazz School and the performers at our Jazz Uncovered 2010. And thanks to the various players I perform with, because that’s the most fun of all: Brenton, Peter, Mike, Leanne, Richard, Monica.
Eric Pozza is a long time jazz lover, bassist and author/editor for CanberraJazz.net