The eighth showcase presented by the Adelaide Music Collective, and the first since the passing of Hall of Fame driving force David Day, turned its attention to the thriving South Australian jazz scene.
The AMC’s expansion into specific areas is a theme that will be strongly to the fore throughout 2015, with some big surprises ahead for live music lovers.
Adelaide’s jazz elite turned it on right from the moment Keith Conlon took the MC’s microphone to guide the audience through the evening with his usual style. A noteworthy trad jazz drummer himself, Conlon also revealed intimate knowledge of his subject.
Marmalade Trio and The New Cabal provided tasty, innovative sets of their largely original compositions and arrangements, the former drawing on Latin jazz, funk and even indie influences, culminating in Mark Ferguson’s highly emotional tribute to the late Mike Stewart, who was later posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The New Cabal – led by double bassist Lyndon Gray, minus regular sax star Chris Soole – thrilled the audience with their original modern jazz stylings, assisted by virtuoso James Muller on guitar. Muller basically stood at the back and ripped out a series of blistering solos, proving an able replacement for the absent Soole.
The inaugural jazz inductees to the SA Music Hall of Fame clearly enjoy an enormous amount of love and respect from both the musicians playing on the night and the packed audience.
Bob Jeffery, Bill Polain, Bob Hower, the late Mike Stewart and perhaps the most-loved of all, elder statesman Hal Hall, have all been not only virtuoso musicians and band leaders, they have also been at the forefront of teaching several new generations of Adelaide jazz stars through their tireless dedication as lecturers and instructors. They also all had a hair-raising tale or two to tell, from classroom antics, to life in the now-infamous nightclubs on Hindley Street in the ’50s and ’60s.
A touching moment was provided by members of Mike Stewart’s family as they collectively received his Hall of Fame award with obvious love, respect and dignity.
After a short break, it was again the turn of the music, with trombonist Polain pulling together a line-up of musicians hanging around backstage to knock out a nostalgic set of old jazz favourites, with “Sunny Side of the Street” a standout.
The night was closed out with a mighty set of big band magic from the Mike Stewart Big Band. These amazing musicians have vowed to keep Stewart’s vision alive and the band playing, both as a learning vehicle allowing younger players to play with their mentors, and also as a public performance entity.
Starting with Stewart’s own composition “New Blue”, the band was then joined by Bob Jeffery on sax for “Just Friends”, the huge sound delivering power, technique and style, to the delight of the capacity room of jazz and big-band music lovers.
The duelling-saxophones finale featuring youngsters Emile and Jamie, with the full band providing an awesome backdrop, highlighted what the Mike Stewart Big Band is all about – bringing together seasoned campaigners and youngsters in a top-notch band environment.
The next AMC Session will be on Friday, July 10, with legendary Eric Bogle, Trev Warner and Patsy Biscoe leading the line-up at the Goodwood Institute.
Your support will help us continue the important work of InReview in publishing free professional journalism that celebrates, interrogates and amplifies arts and culture in South Australia.Donate Here