In introducing his combo, Dan described them as ‘Four young gentlemen and me, the old guy’. I smiled in noting that, for this old guy reviewer, ‘FIVE YOUNG gentlemen’, would have been a far more accurate description.
‘Old’ Dan, who led the band with his trumpet, explained that his father brought him to the Brisbane Jazz Club for the first time, when he was ten. ‘I’ve loved the music and this place ever since’.
Of course, he has been back many times.
Tonight it was in the company of Tyler Cooney on guitar, Alex Price on tenor sax, Blake Lonie on Double Bass and Christopher Evans on drums; all graduates of Brisbane’s Jazz Music Institute, (JMI), where Dan is Head of School.
Yes, Dan is the oldest. And yes, the other four were much younger. But oh, what a combination of talent and skill these young men proved to be. With a surprising maturity, they stroked and caressed each phrase out of their instruments. In a solo or in a blend, the touch and precision of their delivery were outstanding.
A flawless collaboration. A masterful performance. And super cool.
And when instruments speak to you with this level of sensitivity and intimacy, vocalists need not apply.
All this from a combination that was playing together as a quintet for the first time tonight!!
It occurred to me, that if I was looking for a gig to represent THE definitive Brisbane Jazz Club experience; one which absolutely says, ‘This is Brisbane’s Home of Live Jazz’; then tonight’s quality musicianship and sparkling set list would certainly have this band among the top contenders.
And what a set list it was. A pastiche of styles, tempos and tunes, which BJC President, Paul Day, waxing lyrical, described as ‘A bubbling stream. Flowing on. Exciting’.
And flow it did. A fabulous musical journey from note one, tune one; threading a path with colour, shade and variation, and many stops and highlights along the way.
Music and styles visited included Kenny Burrell, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Thelonious Monk. And as a bonus, we were treated to a couple of Dan’s own stirring compositions.
As always, the backdrop to this flowing, sultry summer night’s journey was our lazy, cruisy, black and shiny Brisbane River, drifting past the picture windows that framed the band. Perfectly in synch with the mood that these skilled and entertaining musicians were creating and sharing.
This was a night on which everyone in the grateful audience would have happily stayed on, going with that flow, into the wee hours of the morning.
This was five fine young gentlemen. Five consummate musicians.
This was Dan Quigley and four new young names to remember and look out for.
This was a Five Star Night at the Brisbane Jazz Club.
Sorry if you weren’t here. You missed a really good one.
Brisbane Jazz Club
‘If you can use some exotic booze…Come Fly With Me…’.
Not to ‘..a bar in far Bombay’.
Not to the long-defunct Copa Room at The Sands in Las Vegas.
No. ‘Come Fly With Me’ to the Brisbane Jazz Club at Kangaroo Point, for a night of exotic schmooze, with Brad Leaver and Swing Central, and their overflowing songbook of crooner classics.
The best of the best is all there. The songs of Sinatra, Dino, Sammy Davis Jnr, Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole are presented to you in driving and dynamic arrangements and sharp black tuxedos, by eight sublimely skilled musicians and their top-shelf front man.
Tonight’s line-up is Ian Macrae on piano, Shannon Marshall and Mal Wood on trumpet, Leon Wensley on alto sax, Darren MacPherson on tenor sax, Shane Hannon on trombone, Owen Newcomb on double bass and Dave Sanders on drums. And the cherry atop this musical pie is the voice, style and charisma of Brad Leaver.
The performance starts with an instrumental opening set from the piano, flugelhorn, bass and drums. Then, when the Horn Section fills out, we have eight instruments ready for take-off.
Brad steps up. ‘Please welcome to the stage….me!!’, he says, as he takes his place at the mic. With HIS band.
A very short intro to the first song, then, in perfect time and in perfect pitch, Brad’s voice is there. Instrument number nine.
The audience erupts into life. The crooner classics that everyone is here to hear, start rolling out. We are away. And the joint is jumpin’.
Smoothly, creamily and seemingly effortlessly, Brad and the band deliver the stories, the mood, the love, the pathos and the colour of these great songs. And of course, it wouldn’t be Swing Central without the schmooze, the jokes, the Jerry Lewis schtick, and the Horn Section’s Muppet Show line-up, as backing chorus for‘That’s Amore’.
And when it’s all over, the audience does not want to let them go, and they say so with a roaring, standing ovation.
‘….As the fella once said, Ain’t That a Kick In The Head….?’
Sure was. Another great night at the Brisbane Jazz Club. Thanks guys.
Brisbane Jazz Club
The Duck is back in town. And at their brilliant best.
Tonight, it would have been handy for the Brisbane Jazz Club to have been twice our size. We could have comfortably accommodated everyone that wanted to catch them.
For the capacity-plus crowd that were able to get in, it was an absolute blast. A night to remember.
Galapagos Duck started life at a New South Wales ski resort in 1969. In 1973, they became the house band at Sydney’s ‘The Basement’.
In various combinations, over the years, they have always been at the top of their game. In their current incarnation, they are dynamite;
- Willy Qua, alto sax – drums/percussion.
- John Conley, Double Bass.
- Richelle Booth, tenor sax, clarinet, flute, steel drum.
- Rodney Ford, drums, vocals.
- Wil Sargisson, keys.
So, what can be said about a night with one of Australia’s best known Jazz bands, that hasn’t already been said…a squillion times?
Perhaps I’ll just summarise my personal experience and observations, and the key elements that stood out for me…
- Sublime talent as individual musicians.
- The magic in their combination, as the power of five soared, roared and lifted the roof.
- The subtlety and sweetness of their solos.
- The obvious joy they shared on stage. It glowed, radiated and illuminated the band’s performance.
- Their humour and never-flagging engagement with a wildly appreciative audience.
After a memorable night, for an enthusiastically demanded encore, Willy and Richelle started by playing their saxes off-stage, each tucked away in a corner of the Club. As they walked slowly to join their fellow band members, the audience’s appreciation built to a huge and thunderous applause; a roaring ‘Thank you and good night’.
The Duck is a class act!! Quack.
Brisbane Jazz Club
Wednesday, 21st November
This will be a very short review. Nina Ferro and band with Ingrid James doing some guest Back up Vocals. Fab Fab Fab. What a voice! Belting out Aretha’s wonderful songs. It took me right back to my teenage years in the 60’s when I heard and danced to them ( yes I can remember that long ago).
Nina and band were brilliant, full of energy and HOT. Every song you hope you’d hear you did. Nothing to disappoint and the full house crowd was on its feet.
Can’t wait for Nina’s next visit – she does an Anita Baker show too.
When five of Brisbane’s finest musicians come together to share their mutual love of the music and style of a Jazz legend, history is recreated. History is re-lived.
Tonight, with the Club’s Time Machine set to New York: 1960’s, Shannon Marshall, Brad McCarthy, Wil Sargisson, Nick Quigley and Paul Hudson stepped on to the stage and led us on a flawless journey through the Soul Jazz of alto sax man, Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley.
Brad on alto sax, was blowing hot for Cannonball.
Shannon on flugelhorn, was just as hot for cornet-playing younger brother, Nat Adderley. Shannon also provided vocals on several Ernie Andrews songs. (Ernie, still with us in 2018, and now in his early 90’s, was a sometime singer with Cannonball).
Wil was sublime at the keys for Joe Zawinul. Nick and Paul stood in perfectly for several bass men and drummers from various Cannonball-led quintet and sextet combinations.
Tonight’s performance came to be because Nat Adderley was a major influence on the development of Shannon’s own musicianship and style.
This influence, and Shannon’s love of the music, led him to dream of one day putting together a combo with the skill and shared enthusiasm to faithfully recreate the Cannonball Adderley music and feel.
Shannon was always ready to step into the role of Nat, but he desperately needed a Cannonball. Brad and Shannon had played together years earlier and shared their enthusiasm for the music…so who better than Big Brad McCarthy?
But Brad headed south to Melbourne. Shannon’s dream was parked…until Brad eventually returned to Brisbane.
After tonight, the rest is Brisbane Jazz Club history!!
And what a night!!
The skills of these five musicians and their shared enthusiasm for the music, were powerfully evident in a performance that was classy, tight and seamless.
The power and precision that Nat and Cannonball epitomised at their peak, was at centre stage tonight. Shannon and Brad poured their souls and their skills into an outstanding performance, weaving a night that was unmistakeably and absolutely true to the spirit of the Cannonball legacy.
And not only were they great to listen to…they were fascinating to watch, too.
Every inch of Brad’s frame was on the move, as he blew out those Cannonball classics.
Shannon, was his usual cool, whether blowing or singing. And when grooving along with a fellow band member’s solo, his why-would-I-be-doing-anything-else smile was beaming!!
Wil was at his smiling, immersed and connected best on the keys. Known as a master of New Orleans stride piano, tonight he showed us just how much at home he is with these Funk and Soul Jazz styles.
Nick was calmly, gently intense and in touch on the upright bass, while the often dour Hitman Hudson, was almost dancing on his stool behind that drum kit.
The band’s set-list included many of their idol’s best known tunes, including…
- Cannonball Adderley’s ‘Sticks’.
- Nat Adderley’s ‘Fun’ and ‘The Work Song’.
In introducing ‘Fun’, Shannon remarked, ‘I’m glad I’m not in the Rhythm Section for this one’ and laughingly called for a paramedic at the end of it.
- Joe Zawinul’s ‘Walk Tall’, ‘Mercy Mercy Mercy’ and ‘Yvette’.
The latter introduced as Shannon’s favourite Cannonball ballad.
- ‘The Jive Samba’ and ‘Groovy Samba’.
The band started at the top of their game, yet somehow managed to get better as the night progressed.
And at the end of the evening, when the audience screamed for an encore, a clearly cooked Shannon remarked, ‘None of you have ever played trumpet, have you?’
The reply? ‘How hard can it be? You make it look soooo easy’.
The band relented and finished with the oh, so funky ‘Mini Mama’. It blew the roof off!!
Audience comments from BJC regulars included, ‘Some of the most exciting Jazz that I have heard here for some time’ and ‘One of the most enjoyable nights at the Jazz Club, for ages’.
Eventually, we had to reset the Time Machine to 2018…and send them all home happy!!
Brisbane Jazz Club