WANGARATTA JAZZ FESTIVAL PREVIEW (Scroll down for the usual
"Wang" is almost upon us again, and the CHJ team will be there in
force. Wang never fails to please, no matter what the program looks
like in advance. There's too much on offer to cover all of it here -
full details can be found on the Wang web site. This highly personal and
idiosyncratic preview outlines what CHJ is especially looking forward
to at this year's festival:
* Pianist AARON CHOULAI featured in the very first Wang we
attended. This is our first chance to hear him since then, and to get
a sense of the impact of the Japanese scene on his style. Great local
rhythm section in his trio!
* Another pianist, AlISTER SPENCE and his long-standing trio
are an institution of the Australian jazz scene, and always a pleasure
to hear. Very inventive.
* BERARDI-FORAN-KARLEN is a relatively new project featuring
vocalist Kristin Berardi, pianist Sean Foran and saxophonist Rafael
Karlen. As you can see from the list of gigs on the right, we saw then
in June at the Capital Jazz Project and so are in a position to
recommend them highly. Very sensitive and delicate music.
* BLOW is a quintet of old stagers (Ted Vining - drums; Bob
Sedergreen - piano) and young 'uns (Peter Harper - alto saxophone,
flute; Ian Dixon - trumpet; Gareth Hill - bass) who produce rollicking
good and thoroughly enjoyable music.
* CHJ likes jazz singers (unlike some people we know), and
bass players too, and so we're looking forward to hearing GIAN
SLATER & LINDA OH reprise their memorable duo from the 2011
festival. This was really a lovely combination. On that occasion I
wasn't in a position to hear it all. I don't intend to make that
* HAMMERHEAD is a band we missed at the Capital Jazz Project
this year, due to a clash and photographic obligation elsewhere. But
we heard very good reports, so we don't intend to miss out
twice. Jason Bruer (tenor saxophone), Andrew Robertson (alto
saxophone), Phil Slater (trumpet), Greg Coffin (piano), Matt Greubner
(bass) and Duncan Archibald (drums).
* We've heard and read a lot about the LLOYD SWANTON : AMBON
project, and are very keen to hear it ourselves. Lloyd is a versatile
and inventive player and this new project is attracting a lot of
attention and comment. A very large ensemble containing some big
* Bass is this year's instrument in the NATIONAL JAZZ AWARDS.
There are some excellent young bassists in the semi-finals. If the
ones that we are familiar with are any guide - Sam Anning, Alex
Boneham, Thomas Botting, Karl Dunnicliff - then I don't envy the
judges. It's good so see a couple of females in the competition,
although Hannah James is a surprise omission. I think Alex will be
hard to beat, but my track record in picking the winner is shocking.
* Space prevents us going on and listing all the acts, but don't
forget the Chris Cody Quartet, the Dave Goodman Quartet, the Jackson
Harrison Trio with Phil Slater, the well-known stand-up comedian
Joseph Tawadros, who plays oud between gags, Linda Oh's Sun Project,
Mike Nock and Dave Friesen, and Zac Hurren plays the music of the
late, great Dave Ades.
* DISCOVERING NEW STUFF is one of the pleasures of going to
Wang. These are artists and projects that we've never heard of before
and only discover once there. Surprises like these are often the most
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