Monday 21 May 2012 at Chapel Off Chapel, Prahran
Ruth Rogers-Wright, a singer from Brixton who lives in Melbourne, performed her tribute to Nina Simone at the Stonnington Jazz Festival. Backed by a four-piece group, Rogers-Wright’s act was not so much cover band as séance, channelling the spirit of Simone through song and spoken word.
Opening with Be My Husband, the singer set the mood with a soulful rendition accompanied only by drummer Hugh Harvey. He Needs Me showcased Rogers-Wright’s eerie voice as the rest of the band eased into the show.
Crowd-pleaser My Baby Just Cares for Me featured a lovely bass solo from Philip Rex and ivory tinkling from Monique di Mattina, but the real highlight was Paul Williamson on tenor sax, squawking and growling all the way through. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Sunday 22 May 2011
Teeing off the Stonnington Jazz Festival’s run of shows at Chapel Off Chapel in Prahran, legendary Australian drummer Allan Browne was joined by the members of both his quintet and trio for a “program of musical portraits and poems”. Quite what to expect was somewhat a mystery, but the audience’s questions were answered as Browne settled in, sharing anecdotes of his days playing with jazz legends including Teddy Wilson and Milt Jackson before setting off on some fantastic musical performances. Browne read snippets of poetry between songs too, often accompanied by one of his musicians, making for laconic Australian spoken word.
The first set was blistering, with one ten-minute jam beginning its life as a 1920s New Orleans rag before melding seamlessly into a slice of Charlie Parker-esque bebop, then finishing with a soul jazz swirl.
Guitarist Geoff Hughes was versatile throughout, equal parts George Benson and Lee Underwood, Tim Buckley’s long-time collaborator. His moody playing helped set the tone for the sadder tales Browne shared throughout the show. Continue reading
City of Stonnington 19-29 May 2011
The Stonnington Jazz Festival kicked off last night with the beautiful Sarah McKenzie (left) performing with her sextet at Malvern Town Hall. McKenzie will perform again at the same venue tonight at 8pm.
The festival runs until 29 May and bills itself as “100% Australian Jazz”. Famous names to play this year include Harry Angus of Cat Empire fame, piano maestro Joe Chindamo and ex-George singer Katie Noonan, not to mention personal favourites Bopstretch.
Find out the haps at the festival’s homepage, and book your tickets here. It will be the perfect chance to pique your appetite for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival which kicks off in just a few short weeks.