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Jazz with Zazz #2

Written by Zarina Varley on August 28, 2008

It’s been a busy few weeks for all things jazzy around Sydney, but then again it always is… Every Tuesday night it’s hard not to be drawn down to the Excelsior hotel in Surry Hills for the delightful offerings from Jazzgroove. Most recently I caught the set from the Matt Keegan Trio, who has done a very good job of touring the country over the past few weeks. Led by Matt on sax, the trio play modern contemporary jazz grooves, with a hint of electronic special effects on the sax.

They experimented with many different ideas and time signatures, and Matt made sounds I’ve never heard a sax make before. Truly some of Sydney’s finest on offer, again highlighting what amazing talent we have hiding in all sorts of places!

Adding a different flavour to my usual pallet, I caught the EP launch from the soulfully delicious folk band Saving Grace. These guys are really making their mark on Sydney – last month they supported Peter Combe in spectacular fashion.

They all met at the Sydney Conservatorium or Music and have backgrounds in classical, hip-hop, composition and of course jazz – they mix it all up but lean towards a classical style, which is a reflection of the band’s diverse musical background.. Whatever the formula is that they’ve put together, it’s definitely working!

Playing at the Basement and the Factory theatre over the past week or so was the amazing Barbara Morrison -who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years back. She’s truly one of the great modern jazz divas and has exquisite soulful voice that leaves you wanting much much more. She still sings my favourite version of any jazz standard – a Latin twist on the Rodgers and Hart classic ‘My Funny Valentine’.

Coming up soon will be the Jazz:Now series at the Opera House, a joint initiative of Jazzgroove and SIMA, featuring some of the country’s finest including Andy Fiddes, Jamie Oehlers, Andrew Robson, The Alcohotlicks, and all the way from The States the fantastic Marilyn Crispell. The series lasts for three nights at the Sydney Opera House and runs from September 10 – 13.

To finish up we have the electrifying James Muller who recently played the Sound Lounge. His latest album, Kaboom (2006) was recorded in the US and truly highlights his abilities as a guitarist and entertainer.

So work hard, but be sure to play hard and get out there and keep an eye out for some of the tasty morsels that the Sydney scene have on offer!

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