Lauded as one of the currently hottest properties on the Brisbane jazz scene, guitarist Travis Jenkins produced a memorable show in his first headlining performance at BJC tonight.
In a recent Scenestra interview Steve Russell referred to Travis as ‘having been an outstanding student at JMI , graduating in 2013. He has a unique and raw approach, and the wits and chops to cope with my complicated composing.’
Although I have known Travis for a few months in his capacity as a musical arranger, I had never seen him perform before tonight and what really took my breath away was his transition from guitar to piano for a few numbers. I am sure there is just as lucrative a career open to him as a pianist if he ever put his beloved guitar down for a little while.
It is difficult to make a mark for yourself playing nothing but your own compositions – you never know how acceptable the unfamiliar sound may be to your audience. No such trouble for Travis – his swag of self-penned numbers – Rumpy Bumpy, Approximate Lee, One For Zo Zo, Fleeting Moments, Bittersweet, Freedom Fighter, Steps to Nowhere, Sus Blues, Young, Tilla’s Changes and Dark Daze – all found their mark, often with a wry explanation from Travis as to how he came to compose them or give them that particular title.
As if the high quality playing from Nick Quigley on bass and Sam Mitchell on drums was not enough to complement Travis, we were also treated to a standout performance from Brad McCarthy on Alto Sax. His tone and empathy with Travis’ compositions were brilliant and indeed this combination of piano and sax took me straight back to the sound of the Stan Tracey Quartet and his 1965 album Jazz Suite inspired by Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milk Wood”– ‘one of the most celebrated jazz recordings made in the United Kingdom’.
Tonight was one of those rare occasions when the number of ‘walk-in’ patrons just about equalled the bookings. I don’t think this will happen again – I’m sure Travis’ name on the bill will bring plenty of advance bookings for forthcoming shows………..watch this space!