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Andrew Patty Quartet

Andrew Patty Quartet at Brisbane Jazz Club – Joanna Funk

The Andrew Patty Quartet at the Brisbane Jazz Club (Dec 10 2016) celebrated family, friends and great songs. Edgy, unpredictable jazz stayed at home, since the band knew what would make us feel good and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

BJC was a full house, its audience ensconced in familiarity: swinging standards “rat pack” style, and beautiful songbook ballads.

They’re a quartet?? The core of the band is Andrew Patty (vocals, piano), John Stefulj (woodwinds, percussion and strings), Helen Svoboda (double bass, voice, flute, piano), and Steve Fischer (drums). Very special guest was Dan Bolton (piano), and 3 special guests were John Farren (trumpet), Joy Hendon-Payne (electric bass) and Mike Tyler (drums).

Bassist Svoboda started a fine uptown walk to set the tone, and the band opened the evening smartly with Fly Me To The Moon. All the night’s arrangements were written by Bolton, and the horns played his catchy motifs, even Patty kept humming with them! Then Farren came in with the sweetest of trumpet solos. It soared high over us like a rainbow. It was gorgeous, and the audience showed their appreciation no end.

Patty introduced Svoboda, listing her many achievements and awards. But there was one outstanding attribute:

She reduces the average age of the band by half.

Patty sang You Are My Sunshine with a beaming smile, supported by Bolton’s relaxed, rolling piano notes, and Farren’s trumpet meandering through his changes. Stefulj played flute on this song, his brilliant flurries filling the air like birdsong. We were feeling no pain.

The audience whooped as Patty paid homage to the ‘Rat Pack’ with a Dino (Dean Martin) impression for Everybody Loves Somebody, then I’ve Got You Under My Skin, keeping the tempo light and the crowd lighthearted. Hendon-Payne stepped in with the electric bass and Svoboda picked up a flute.

Patty mentioned drummer Steve Fischer.

Steve is quite intellectual. Apparently he always was. His first experience with a band was a group of music technos. They were called The 1,023 Megabytes. Actually it was 1,024. He had to quit because they were always short of a gig.

In Autumn Leaves, the horns played the theme from Mash in 3rds over the intro, and echoes of it reappeared throughout.

Then Patty sang an original song by Bolton called I Miss You Most Of All:

The girls I get to date, unlike you

Don’t turn up late

And they don’t make me so blue. But nuthin’s

Good as it might seem

They all share a common theme

‘Cos they’re not you…

Stefulj played the solo with his tenor saxophone, and he took me to Paris. It’s 1960, late at night, and I’m in a bar listening to Dexter Gordon and Kenny Drew. They’re playing a ballad from The Dan Bolton Songbook, and life is so fine and full of possibility.

That’s what music can do to you.

All of Me, I’m Beginning To See The Light, and a very special performance of Love Me Tender. In 1987, 8 school children were lost in a bus crash. Patty, an educator, said it changed his life forever. Love Me Tender was played at the memorial service, and Patty said he couldn’t sing that song for years after. But he managed it tonight. The arrangement was a modern ballad, Bolton’s gentle chords were the toll of church bells. A flute solo added solemn beauty, and the audience’s unity in that moment was palpable.

The band saw out the first set with Charade, there was a deliciously varied solo shared between Fischer on drums and Stefulj on percussion. I heard, “Beautiful, beautiful,” from the audience.

In the second set, Patty sang Misty and played solo piano, and Stefulj made his debut on double bass in Nice ‘n’ Easy and Ain’t Misbehavin’. 

It Might As Well be Spring, I Can’t Get Started, Route 66, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. The Andrew Patty Quartet delivered great music along with a big part of themselves. Those who shared the experience will remember it for a long time.