Jazz with Zazz #3

Written by Zarina Varley on September 12, 2008

Let’s jump straight in this week with a band that’s got a lot of people confused simply by their name. They’re called Aunty Richard and they recently launched their debut contemporary jazz album Leaf Blower at the Basement, much to my tongue-wagging delight.

To start off the night was the electric bass and drums duo Jacuzzi 88, which featured Cameron Undy (from 505, remember?) and Evan Mannell. They explored what seemed like all styles within the jazz spectrum, conversing in a profound drum and bass language, which reminds us why they are the key units of pretty much any ensemble.

On to the main attraction: Aunty Richard, not a drag queen or anything remotely close! The name came to sax player Joel Woolf in a dream one night and just kind of stuck. One thing that did strike me as quirky though was the fact that the band all had matching hairdos.

As they were launching their album, they played many familiar songs but the live show had more edge. This comes down to the fact they added an electric guitar to the band since recording the album.

Keeping on good jazz form, I caught The Matt Baker Trio at The El Rocco Jazz cellar (part of BarMe) in Kings Cross. This place has some heavy jazz history and used to be one of the places to go for Sydney and Australian jazz, while nowadays it plays host to an array of hidden jazz and blues talent. Clambering down into a dungeon of a room, dimly lit, you can instantly feel the Aussie greats who’ve played here before.

The trio is made up of Matt Baker on piano, with Alex Boneham on bass and Cameron Reid on drums. They play Cuban-infused jazz/blues originals that could very well be the jazz standards of the future, and they treated us to a profound arrangement of Imagine and the classic, The Way You Like Tonight.
Due to, well let’s just say “line-up issues”, the second set was a duo of piano and the wonderfully talented Adrian Cunningham on saxophone. At the request of an audience member we were blessed with a beautiful rendition of There Will Never Be Another You, which just reminded me of why I love jazz as much as I do!

To round off, my gig picks for the fortnight are the SIMA Young Women in Jazz concert at the Basement on September 16 and The Vampires at Jazzgroove (Excelsior Hotel) on September 23.

SIMA has been doing these young women in jazz workshops for years (I used to go to them!) and this year is their largest yet. As for The Vampires, I’ve pretty much got their album South Coasting on repeat at the moment as their weaving of sax and trumpet is practically infectious.
Til next week – Zaz


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