Sydney’s Jazzgroove association fifth Summer Fiesta was spread over three venues in Ultimo: Foundry616, Lord Wolseley (I was judged too declassé to admit here) and APRA (I can’t understand it, but I failed the audition, or am I thinking of NIDA?) from Jan 16 to 18. In fact the cross section of bands that was …
‘…The Acronym Orchestra and many of their contemporaries joyfully celebrate and integrate and build upon the musical language of, and beyond, the jazz tradition – blues, gospel, jump, New Orleans, and even further back to Africa and the Middle East and both West and Eastern Europe.’
Such is the range and span of colours and shifting scenes across Short Stories. That all of this can be expressed through the limited means of a jazz guitar trio – to all intents and purposes acoustic – is not only a measure of Panucci, Boneham and Waples’ creative mastery, but also of their vision.
Sean Coffin’s tenor tone and approach fits the music perfectly. In his sound there are distinct echoes and cries from jazz history – the blues is prominent if abstracted – yet the same imagination that elevates his arrangements carries through to surprise us in his solos. Funky as fuck in ‘Booga Dunny’ (get it? ‘I’m a funny cat’, says SC), a soul-jazz boogaloo, he also plays a ballad such as ‘Quiet Thoughts’ with great depth – the coda cadenza was a composition in itself. His horn can bite but it can also kiss.
His ideas are clear and strong, and deceptively simple motifs unfold and develop in unexpected ways, always maintaining the listener’s interest. Suite SIMA is a model of how to write for a medium-sized jazz ensemble that will provide student composers and arrangers with many lessons and lots of inspiration.
“Having two horn players allows me to think orchestrally but still enables me to play with the flexibility I so enjoy with the trio format…” – Mike Nock talks to us about his recent CD ‘Hear and Know’ and tells us what he’s listening to now…
Review by Phil Sandford: The quintet format has proved an enduring one in jazz and this excellent album shows that it still provides a powerful vehicle for creative compositions, solos and group interaction.
Some of my first professional experiences came from my father along with the school music teachers, although I must admit that I really had no idea what jazz was and I think they just booked me cause I could keep in time.
With Ben and James Waples Nock has found creative musicians who ably complement his playing in the more traditional trio setting and contribute on an equal basis in the free pieces.