This was a fascinating Sunday night at the Brisbane Jazz Club.
Led by an ever-smiling Bob Rose, the 18-piece All Stars Cooperative Band delivered three wide-ranging sets of imaginative and attention-holding arrangements, in a welcome follow up to their appearance at the BJC’s recent Big Band Festival.
They brought their powerful big-band vibe to classics such as ‘A Night In Tunisia’, ‘Memphis Blues’, Benny Goodman’s ‘Jersey Bounce’ and ‘Stompin’ At The Savoy’, and their closing number, the Dixieland march, ‘South Rampart Street Parade’.
They delivered sweet big-band arrangements of ballads such as ‘Send In The Clowns’, a nice Latin touch in ‘Peanut Vendor’ and stand-out solos from the tuba on ‘Making Whoopee’ and sax on ‘Stranger On The Shore’.
There were even smiling, big-band versions of pop/rock favourites, ‘YMCA’, ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘Norwegian Wood’. (The latter, quite appropriate for a band which includes a muso named John Lennon. Imagine that.)
The All Stars Cooperative Band were very good.
However, in a marketing master-stroke, they delivered the coup de grace, in the form of the Mon Che Vocal Quartet.
This was a master-stroke because the 11th hour addition of these four talented young ladies literally doubled the size of the audience, from 72 bookings when I checked on Saturday, to the enthusiastic and appreciative 144 that came through the door on Sunday night.
The four talented young ladies of Mon Che, Lucy, Charity, Tegan and Lauren, started performing together as students at Wavell State High School, under the tutelage of the school’s Musical Director, Malcolm Bell…who just happens to be the drummer in the All Stars Cooperative Band.
The two years of experience that they have since accumulated, was evident as the girls lit up the stage in each of the band’s sets; bringing the house down with their radiant smiles, sparkling personalities, beautiful matching 40’s outfits, smooth moves and, oh, those exquisite Andrews Sisters harmonies.
The audience swooned and swayed through evocative classics such as ‘Straighten Up and Fly Right’, ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’, ‘Tuxedo Junction’ and ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing, (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)’.
Not surprisingly, the crowd favourite was ‘The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’, which they featured in their first set, and were enthusiastically requested to reprise in their final set.
For Mon Che, this was a big step into the limelight, and on the evidence of Sunday night, they have a very bright future; surely only the first of many times that we will see them owning our stage. Be sure to catch a performance. Just like this time, word will travel fast!!
Thank you, Bob Rose, Malcolm Bell, the All Stars Cooperative Band and Mon Che for a very entertaining, sell-out evening at the Brisbane Jazz Club.