The Review Revue – Allan Browne: the Poetry of Classic Jazz

Is it really a year since Allan Browne last played at Stonnington Jazz Festival?

His latest show, The Poetry of Classic Jazz, featured a five-piece band performing New Orleans-influenced jazz and the inimitable Browne sharing some of his favourite pieces of poetry over the jams.

The band leader started with a rendition of W. H. Auden’s Funeral Blues, a tribute to Melbourne drummer Peter Jones who passed away on Friday. Jones had drummed for numerous acts, most famously Crowded House, before he was struck with cancer.

Trumpeter Geoff Bull took the chance to stretch his vocal cords on Make Me a Pallet on the Floor, belting out some great blues and horn work over Margie Lou Dyer’s barrel-house piano playing.

Dyer then took over on the microphone with a rough-and-ready vocal on Down by the Riverside, a Civil War-era number. Mark Elton, a personal favourite of the Melbourne scene, locked down the groove nicely on bass.

The highlight of the show was the band’s version of Just Over in the Glory Land, a big `ole, New Orleans, all-singing riot. Bull took lead vocal, but everyone joined in at some point. Dave Hetherington duked it out on clarinet with Bull’s trumpeting, both musicians trying to out-do each other as the solos grew more and more outrageous.

As usual, another great show from Browne and another great show at the Stonnington Jazz Festival.

Luke James


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