Month: August 2017

The spirit of Alice Coltrane graces Melbourne

Has Alice Coltrane ever been more relevant? Maybe in the ’70s, when she set up on her own journey, practically inventing the harp as a jazz instrument, while creating her signature modal/spiritual jazz sound. Spiritual jazz is, of course, the sub-genre du jour, at the moment, largely thanks to the unbelievable popularity of Kamasi Washington, who owes much to the Coltranes. But any DJ worth their turntables have been pointing to Alice Coltrane for the past decade or more, discovering the worlds that exist in her intricate weavings and sonic textures.

Ellen Kirkwood & Sirens Big Band – [A]part: massive in every way

And that from anguish to giddy silliness, and everything in between is the scope of [A]part. It is a massive piece in every way: challenging to the ear and the mind, highly original (as we know Kirkwood to always be), often cerebral and abstract, all the time threatening to be too much to take in in one sitting. But what saves it from possible overwhelm is that Kirkwood never loses the emotional thread in the music; it is human music and it consistently makes you feel. Sometimes, as with all valid contemporary art, those feelings can be baffling or even plain uncomfortable, but you do feel them deeply.

Listening to Emma Stephenson’s Hieronymus Trio w. Gian Slater – Where the Rest of the World Begins

Slater’s voice is a perfect choice for the Trio and Stephenson’s songs. Bell-clear, it is a fluid thing, like smoke or drifting water, avoiding any grating blues edges or forced earthiness. It is this instrumental quality a hallmark of all valid jazz singing that fits so neatly with the modern angles and curves of Stephenson’s compositions

Sonny Rehe invites you to the Uptown Jazz Cafe 9-year anniversary party

“The Uptown success story really is the success story of the Melbourne jazz and improvised music scene itself. The original motivation to open a jazz club, after moving back here from New York City, was because of the incredibly high level of playing that I knew Melbourne (and Australia) always had. Also, to try to catch that particular sound that is unique to us here, which I don’t think the New Yorkers quite get.”