“The most beautiful music is like life at its best: space to improvise, and the most beautiful voice is left out subtly, so everyone can colour it in for him/herself and create their own story.“
In this day and age, when there is such a plethora of music to choose from, it is easy to become a little jaded, even when enjoying your preferred musical style. All the more reason then to regard a standing ovation as a true testament to the quality of the performance. Last night was only the second time I have seen a standing ovation at BJC and, along with a number of other jazz ‘cognoscenti’ who were present for Belgian pianist Jef Neve’s Spirit Control show, I was truly gobsmacked at the elegance and ease of Jef and his highly accomplished group, both in the material and the manner in which it was played.
The incredible dedication of Jef to his craft made me stop and wonder, and although comparisons are odious, how many other performers would spend 5 hours rehearsing and then go almost straight into a show which ran for 90 minutes without a break! It was obviously worth it to Jef who could not wipe the smile off his face for the whole show. Watching Phillip Rex – bass and Danny Fischer – drums was a lesson in mastery of one’s instrument, and would certainly keep me smiling throughout if I had the opportunity of working with them.
With a string quartet and Pieter Kindt on synth, the music broadened out to almost classical proportions on some of the numbers, while Jef’s piano playing was brilliant throughout.
Jef’s original pieces certainly displayed no condescension; the tuneful melodies and form were well understood and appreciated by a discerning and enthusiastic audience.
Considering that this was a rainy Wednesday night in Brisbane, when the BJC is not usually open, we did well in putting on a special show featuring a European performer, which attracted such a devoted crowd.
Jef Neve is an absolute must for a return visit to BJC, and hopefully this would be on a weekend night, when there would be no doubt of a packed house.
19 October 2017