We have more than our share of awesome jazz musicians within a couple of hours drive of Brisbane. But it always a thrill to have international acts grace our stage at the Brisbane Jazz Club. Something new, something fresh to expand our horizons a little.
I am particularly fond of jazz from the Nordic countries, and have been a keen observer of Henk Leeuwin’s Northern Europe Liaisons websitewww.henk.com.au having discovered it some years ago. It is full of cool CDs and touring information about musicians from Sweden, Norway, and Finland as well as a few local artists.
So it was with great enthusiasm that I attended the #HerdTrio gig on Friday night. This young Finnish band seemed to tick all the boxes and had won some European awards for their music. We caught them midway through a tour of the Australian east coast promoted by Henk.
I must be honest, I downloaded their CD Herd Live from iTunes and had been playing it in my car for a week, so I had a bit of an idea of what was in store.
As I had rather expected, it was a memorable night of superb jazz. The trio of drums, bass and vibes held the audience in a trance-like state as they performed mainly original compositions with a bit of Miles Davis and even Eric Satie thrown in for good measure.
True to the northern tradition they played quiet, chamber like jazz which was melodic and pensive. Some pieces improvised on traditional tunes, all was tight and masterfully executed by intelligent young musicians creating a new edge for their music and taking jazz to new and beautiful spaces.
All members of the trio were outstanding with standout solos by vibes player #PanuSavolainen, who also entertained the audience with his offbeat humour between pieces. I have discovered that the Finnish sense of humour is a little different from the Aussie humour and there were some unexpectedly hilarious moments as Panu built a strong rapport with the audience.
The band and Henk their promoter were all very complimentary of our club – the fact that there are still small, intimate single purpose clubs like ours around is impressive but they were totally captivated by our location and view across the river. Never take that for granted, what we have is the envy of many.
As I ran through the wrap up and thank you’s from the stage at the end of the night I very genuinely thanked the audience. Nobody had uttered a word during the entire performance because they were totally absorbed in something very special that these young Finns had brought from the other side of the world to our club. The respect for their performance and the joy it brought were palpable. A new fan base here down under.