Just seeing the names on the bill was enough for most people to expect a great show from John Morrison and Jacki Cooper – well-known at the Club for their patronage and mentoring of our Brisbane Big Band Festival. Seeing and hearing them perform in their own right without a 20-piece big band behind them was a new and highly entertaining experience. The company of the legendary jazz guitarist George Golla, and Brisbane’s own Helen Russell on bass, really put the icing on the cake.
As well as providing the main backing throughout the night, the much awarded George Golla showed how to make it look so easy to get such beautiful sounds from a guitar in his solo feature on Easy Street. George started his long-term musical association with Don Burrows in 1959 and has since become one of the icons of Australian jazz.
Apart from their individual talents as vocalist and drummer John and Jacki are a husband and wife team giving rise to plenty of amusing on-stage banter, with Jacki’s stories of learning to sing in Portuguese, and John’s assertion that he can ‘drum in any language’. John’s cheeky and rascally demeanor disguise the fact that he is a brilliant drummer, as proved by his solo in ‘Caravan’ when there wasn’t a surface anywhere around the club that he couldn’t get a sound from.
Much of the show featured numbers from their CD The Journey where Jacki’s vocal talents are showcased to the full, especially with standout performances of Walk on the Wild Side, Solitude and her own composition Don’t Die Wond’rin’. Her experience in workshopping school choirs up and down the country was very much in evidence when getting the whole crowd involved with singing Can’t Buy Me Love and scatting too!
Standing ovations are not a common occurrence, particularly at jazz shows, so to witness and be part of the ultimate accolade is a special moment to be enjoyed. The audience provided us with this special moment in response to this superbly crafted show presented by John, Jacki and George.